Infectious virus sweeps through Bay schools

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A stomach bug causing vomiting and diarrhoea is forcing schools to send students home.
The "extremely infectious" bug was not severe for most people who recovered in a few days, Hawke's Bay District Health Board medical officer of health Lester Calder said.
The most likely cause of the outbreak was norovirus, which spread from virus particles floating in the air after vomiting or from contact with the faeces of sick people. Laboratory results confirming the cause of the infection were expected next week.
Symptoms were mostly headache, influenza-like illness, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea, Dr Calder said.
A phone survey of 53 Hawke's Bay schools by the DHB child health team showed 21 schools had more than 10 per cent of their roll absent with illness. Most of the other 32 schools had 5 to 9 per cent of their roll absent.
Sick people should be isolated and stay away from school, sport and community activities, preparing food or swimming in public pools until well and without diarrhoea for 48 hours, Dr Calder said. Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the toilet, after changing a nappy and before handling food. Disposable paper towels were best.
Clean hard surfaces, toys, bathrooms and utensils as they could become contaminated with the virus, which survives outside the body.
Wash dirty clothing in hot water and rinse separately from the rest of the laundry.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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