Norovirus confirmed cause of widespread St. Charles school stomach virus

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017
St. Charles East High School

ST. CHARLES, Ill. (WLS) -- Norovirus was confirmed as the cause of a widespread stomach virus that sickened hundreds at St. Charles East High School earlier this month, the Kane County Health Department said Wednesday.

Classes were canceled for two days at the school after 800 students and 50 staffers missed class on Jan. 9. The school has 2,500 total students and about 100 staffers.

The health department collect three samples for testing, which were sent to the Illinois Department of Public Health's Virology laboratory in Chicago. In all three specimens,

Norovirus Subtype G2 RNA was detected, officials said.

Norovirus is contracted by eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus, by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus, and then putting their fingers to their mouth, or by caring for or sharing food or eating utensils with a sick person, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Symptoms of a norovirus infection include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain.

After students and staff became ill, the school brought in cleaning crews to bleach and disinfect the school.