More than 100 students and teachers from Rye High School in New York were sickened with gastrointestinal symptoms following a District-sponsored dinner at a local country club last week. Following the dinner at the Willow Ridge Country Club in Harrison, dozens of students and staff members began to experience vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms associated with the illness.

The school district has been consulting with the Westchester County Department of Health, and they suspect the illness is caused by Norovirus, a common but very contagious virus. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.


In a letter to parents and students from Superintendent of Schools, Frank Alvarez, he says, The health department has given us a number of recommendations to implement in order to contain and stop the spread of this virus. The High School and Middle School have both undergone a thorough cleaning process over the weekend, but we also need your help to break the chain of infection.

The health department is advising that students who are ill with gastrointestinal illness remain at home for at least two days after their symptoms subside. Students who are ill with stomach symptoms, should also inform Tracey Barnett, Director of Health Services at 914-967-6100 ext. 1931 so that steps can be taken to identify and eradicate the virus.

CBS New York reports the health department said that one of the guests at the dinner had already been infected and spread the virus. The country club has undergone an intense disinfection.

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 andwater, 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.