Over 100 students sick at Long Island school in possible norovirus outbreak

More than 100 students at a Long Island high school fell ill this week in what health officials believe to be a nasty outbreak of the highly-contagious and drug-resistant norovirus.

The nightmarish scenario at Babylon High School may have begun at a Friday night school dance that was interrupted when students attending began vomiting, News12 reported.

“My brother went to the dance, and he just said everyone was throwing up — he only lasted 10 minutes there,” Kate Schmitt told the news outlet.

Another student told a News12 reporter that he thinks the dance may have been the source of the outbreak as several of his friends went home sick.

By Monday, half the student population of Babylon High School were marked absent, officials said.

The school district sent out an alert to parents on Saturday asking them to keep their children home from school if they were experiencing any stomach issues.

More than 100 students at Babylon High School came down with a stomach bug that health officials believe could be a norovirus outbreak.
News 12

Symptoms of the norovirus include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and stomach pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Illness from the virus typically lasts one to two days.

“It’s a classic stomach bug, so you have usually it’s a stomach ache, then it progresses to vomiting and later diarrhea,” Suffolk County Health Commissioner Gregson Pigott told the local station. “Very intense for about a day or two then it just goes away as quickly as it came.”

The virus spreads through contact with infected persons and contaminated food and surfaces.

Custodians worked over the weekend to sanitize surfaces within the school building.

Health officials were sent to the high school to investigate if the virus was spreading from contaminated food from the cafeteria, but found no evidence it was a source.

Experts said the best defense against the norovirus and other stomach bugs is frequent and adequate hand washing with soap and water. Those who are ill should not prepare food for others until two days after symptoms reside.

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