More than 80 students sick with suspected norovirus at Babylon High School

BABYLON, Suffolk County (WABC) — There’s a mystery illness going around at Babylon High School on Long Island.

The Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. Gregson Pigott says more than 80 students were out sick last Friday with stomach problems.

He says there’s no indication of food poisoning from the school cafeteria, so the likely cause is norovirus.

“Norovirus has been circulating throughout the US for the last few months as it does every year, though an increase in cases compared to our COVID-19 pandemic years was reported by the CDC in February,” said Dr. Pigott. “We advise people to continue to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and disinfect surfaces to avoid coming into contact with pathogens that cause norovirus.”

Norovirus is the leading cause of vomiting, diarrhea, and foodborne illness in the United States.

It spreads through direct contact with a person with norovirus, most often by caring for them, sharing food, or eating food handled by them.

People can also get norovirus by touching surfaces touched by someone who has norovirus.

People are most contagious when they are sick with norovirus illness and for a few days after they feel better.

Symptoms of norovirus illness begin suddenly, typically around 12 to 48 hours after a person is exposed to the virus and resolve within two to three days.

The most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain. Other symptoms include fever, headache, and body aches. There is no treatment for norovirus.

The health department’s caseworkers are investigating the outbreak.

“We have spoken to the families of many of the children who were infected and we are pleased that the outbreak was largely contained to the high school, with only a few cases in students in other schools in the district,” said Dr. Shaheda Iftikhar, Chief Deputy Health Commissioner and Director of the department’s Division of Public Health.

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