Boston health officials say approximately 140 students and 10 staff members from a South Boston elementary school have become sick with suspected norovirus over the past few days.
Condon Elementary School in South Boston first notified officials Monday evening, and an infectious disease team visited the school Tuesday, said McKenzie Ridings, a spokeswoman for the Boston Public Health Commission.
Robby Chisholm, principal of the Condon Elementary School, sent out an automated call to parents Tuesday night informing them about the virus and the school’s efforts to contain it.
“Teams were onsite today cleaning the school so we can stop any further illness spread,” Chisholm said. “For those of you who have children who are ill, we will make sure to catch them up on their schoolwork when they come back — we just want them to focus on getting healthy soon.”
Norovirus is a highly contagious viral illness that often goes by other names, such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning.
The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days.
In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.
Norovirus is spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typically spread through contaminated food and water, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea.
Norovirus causes more than 20 million illnesses annually, and it is the leading cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in the United States.
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