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Stomach flu strikes Verndale School 

by Trinity Gruenberg

    The Verndale School had 60 students out with the stomach flu on Friday, November 17. 

    A majority of those students were in the elementary.

    “We have encouraged students and staff to wash their hands frequently. The illness seems to not last very long. We hope the weekend will help students recover and be ready for the short week next week. The custodial staff have been washing door handles and other areas that are frequently touched by students and staff. We will also send a letter home to the parents to make them aware of the situation,” said Superintendent Paul Brownlow.

    They will not close the school due to the illness because the staff and students have already been in contact with the bug. Hopes are that the weekend will  curb the illness and give everyone time to recover. 

    According to the Minnesota Department of Health/CDC, this infection is often mistakenly referred to as the “stomach flu”, but noroviruses are not related to the flu (influenza), which is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Norovirus is also sometimes called viral gastroenteritis, food poisoning, and calicivirus. Norovirus infection causes gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of the stomach and the small and large intestines. 

    Symptoms include, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, fever/chills and muscle aches.

    The symptoms usually last one or two days. However, during that brief period, people can feel very ill and vomit, often violently and without warning, many times a day.

    Symptoms usually begin 24 to 48 hours after ingestion of the virus, but can appear as early as 12 hours after exposure. Infected people can feel ill as long as two weeks after they feel better.

    Noroviruses are found in the stool or vomit of infected people. People can become infected with the virus in several ways, including: eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus by foodhandlers who have not washed their hands adequately; touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then placing their hand in their mouth or eating before washing their hands; having direct contact with another person who is infected and showing symptoms (for example, when caring for someone with illness, or sharing foods or eating utensils with someone who is ill); swimming in or drinking water contaminated by infected persons: Persons working in day-care centers or nursing homes should pay special attention to children or residents who have norovirus illness...

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