An outbreak of the gastrointestinal bug, norovirus, that has affected scores of students has caused the immediate closure of an Edinburgh, Scotland primary school until next Monday, according to school officials today.


In a letter to parents from Oxgangs Primary School and NHS Lothian, “A large number of children and staff at Oxgangs Primary School are ill with symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhea. The symptoms are suggestive of viral gastroenteritis (also known as norovirus or winter vomiting disease) which is known to be currently circulating in the community.”

Although the number of cases were not specified in the letter, The Scotsman reports some 164 total students and faculty have been sickened during the past 24 hours.

School officials say  given the very large number of children affected, in order to shorten the duration of the outbreak,
Oxgangs Primary School will be closed until Monday 8 December.

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.