[UPDATE: Some Schools Close Next Week] More Than 130 Students Sick After Norovirus Outbreak in Eureka Schools

Humboldt County Department of Health & (and) Human Services DHHSPress release from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services:

More than 130 students from the South Bay Union School District are sick from what Public Health officials believe to be a norovirus outbreak centered at Pine Hill School and affecting nearby South Bay and South Bay Charter schools.

One hundred and thirty-two students of 489 enrolled in the three-school district are out today. One hundred and one students were absent Thursday, while 88 missed school on Wednesday. An unknown number of staff members are also sick.

The Public Health Laboratory in Eureka has confirmed the presence of the highly contagious virus, which causes nausea, fever, vomiting, stomach pain and explosive watery diarrhea. Additional laboratory testing will be conducted today.

Officials have already documented cases of transmission from students to parents and other family members, so the number of current cases is likely higher.

Infected people typically show symptoms within 12 to 48 hours of exposure to the virus. Contagion is believed to last at least 24 hours after recovery.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus causes an acute inflammation of the stomach and intestines. People catch the virus by accidentally ingesting stool or vomit from an infected person. This typically happens by consuming contaminated food or liquids, touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then putting your fingers in your mouth, or sharing food or utensils with someone who is infected.

Parents, staff and children are strongly encouraged to go home from school or work if they have any sign of illness, and to remain there at least 24 hours after all symptoms have subsided.

There is no cure for norovirus, which generally passes on its own within a few days. The CDC notes that it cannot be treated with antibiotics, because it is a viral, rather than bacterial, infection. Drinking lots of fluids is recommended to replace those lost during the course of illness.

Hand washing is the best defense. Wash hands frequently throughout the day with soap and water. Hand sanitizing gels and wipes are ineffective against the virus. Clean contaminated surfaces thoroughly with a strong disinfectant such as bleach.

Even then the virus is often extremely difficult to contain. It can survive on surfaces for weeks, and few disinfectants are effective against it.

An outbreak in Yolo County earlier this year sickened an estimated 4,000 people, and despite exhaustive decontamination efforts resulted in the closure of several schools. The illness spread from Woodland to schools in West Sacramento, Winters, Esparto and Davis, including U.C. Davis.

Public Health officials are working side by side with the staff and superintendent of Pine Hill and South Bay schools, who have pledged their full support in combatting the spread of illness.

Department of Health & Humans Services’ Public Health Director Michele Stephens said, “We are working quickly to help our local schools prevent further illness, particularly as we near the holiday break.”

UPDATE: An additional press release from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services:

After further discussion between district and Public Health officials, South Bay Union School District will close its three schools, all currently impacted by a norovirus outbreak. The closure will run from Dec. 18 through 22, with the winter break beginning immediately after that.

This decision was bolstered Friday afternoon by an additional pair of positive tests for norovirus related to the outbreak.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Donald Baird declared a local outbreak within the district, which encompasses Pine Hill, South Bay and South Bay Charter schools. More than 130 students have been sickened by the highly contagious virus, which includes symptoms of nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea.

South Bay Union School District Superintendent Gary Storts announced the closure to staff and parents this afternoon, stating, “This precautionary measure will prevent additional student and staff exposure to norovirus. The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority. Campus closures will ensure the time needed to deep clean both campuses before students return to school on January 8, 2018, and resume our efforts to read, lead, and succeed.”

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40 comments

  • Wash your hands people…..

    • You are totally off base. Washing hands is not the answer. It may help but it will give you a false sense of security. A large part of contamination process is caused by airborne particulate. In a school setting where a child has diarrhea in the toilet then flushes, as mush as 100 million viral particles go airborne and remain in the air for a week. It only takes breathing in as little as 10 viral particles to to infect you. The CDC does not get this information out there I feel because they don’t want to cause fear to spread.
      Hand wipes and disinfectant sprays are ineffective.

      There is only one thing that I have found to be effective. An Air Sanifier with AHPCO Cell technology.
      This system has been Studied by West Texas A&M University and will even deactivate M.RS.A. It will deactivate viruses and bacteria. Mold and mildew is also no problem. It’s the only system in the world with this technology. The technology was borne from N.A.S.A.

  • No hard freeze=increase in germs/bacteria

    Wiping down surfaces especially door knobs with white vinegar and rubbing lavender oil over your fingers can’t hurt.

  • School dispense Clorox wipes. Yes it costs but costs more when kids are not in school

  • “Officials have already documented cases where students have passed it to their parents…” really? The hell you say? Thankfully now I know you can get sick from kids that go to school.

    • Before you get too snarky, you should read up on Nor…..it’s highly contagious and you can get so dehydrated from it you could die, especially if you are elderly. It’s the same virus you read about spreading through cruise ships, and events where a lot of people gather. It just takes one person to come down with it to infect many, many more. It’s not just about “kids that go to school”. If it is in our community, pay attention. The next case could be you and believe me you don’t want this virus. I have talked to folks who have had it. They say they have never been so sick from anything in their entire lives.

  • Don’t share pens and pencils

  • Oh God. Filthy people = everyone gets sick. It’s the Dark Ages in Humboldt (but we already knew that, all the pagan plant worshippers and all).

  • Stop doing away with Feral Cats; they are rodent predators . .. . . . Feral Cats are the first and best response to disease caring rodents and the offspring in their nests . .. . ..
    . .. Per CDC ::: https://www.cdc.gov/rodents/index.html

  • EXPLOSIVE watery diarrhea??? That sounds dangerous!!!

  • Teachers are no longer allowed to have bleach products such as Clorox wipes in the classroom. Nor do we have hot water in classrooms or student restrooms due to liability if a child gets scalded by too hot water.

    Hope all the families are told how to sanitize their homes to prevent recurring infection.

    Nero virus can be deadly!

    • Vinegar and rags then it is. Man the rules are endless.

      • Yes! I was just about to say that. It may not kill all the bacteria, though it does do lots of good, but it certainly allows oily dirt to be cleaned.

        • It’s not bacteria it’s a virus. It’s got to be something heavy duty like bleach. Custodians are generally certified to use it in the course of doing their jobs.

  • I actually read that the wipes are inneffective on this super stomach flu.

    Re freezing temps:

    *The virus can remain infective when held at ambient, chilled and freezing temperatures. In chilled and frozen environments survival can be measured in months or even years. * The fuk!
    – And that reads “infective” as in “infectious” –

    What is the Solution? DONT EAT OUT. (And avoid shellfish another common source)
    Another gross thing is that asymptomatic people can be shedding virus.

    Norovirus causes nearly 60% of all foodborne illness outbreaks.

    Learn more if u want.
    http://www.about-norwalk.com

  • I find the trail of this virus interesting. First one school, then another of the same owned schools get infected. Sounds like a food item contaminated infected one or more and then they all went down. 130 our of 400 that’s pretty close to 50%. Then 4000 in one senario in sac….I information given to us doesn’t seem likely a sneeze set this off, I think food by the school might be a factor…it’s by ingesting poo or throw up, doubt anyone did that…??

    • Pine Hill is a K-3 school. South Bay serves grades 4-6 and the charter school grades 7 & 8. Many families have children who attend both schools so the virus is spread within the district.

    • The droplets get airborne and it only takes a few to infect u…

  • Norovirus.
    For some reason it brings Cholera to mind. I’ve had Noro, read about Cholera. Not the same bug, but when Noro bites you, it feels the same for a while – except that Cholera kills you and Noro just makes you wish you were dead.
    Wash hands. Wash them again. Sano surfaces. DON’T TOUCH DOOR KNOBS IN RESTROOMS, use a paper towel to open it on the way out.

  • Terrific. My son attends Alder Grove Charter school & I believe they fall under South Bay School District although there has been no notification of school closure from the school. I am going to keep my kid home anyway just in case. Our family definitely does not need this nasty bug!!

  • It would behoove folks to read up on how to care for a severely ill family member.
    There are a lot of sites on the net that outline simple, easy to implement ways to care for an ill person, deal with waste products and soiled bedding and clothing, and hydration solutions.

    You can purchase inexpensive shower curtains at Dollar Tree and double or triple make the bed (mattress, shower curtain liner, sheets, draw sheet, shower curtain liner, sheets, draw sheet). The layering helps when a patient has had an accident and you want to easily change the bedding.

    Hope all the students and staff heal up quickly!

    Is there a number on the adults (staff/parents) who are also ill?

  • It does NOT help when a the Government requires a child’s “Butt in the seat” to be credited for payment to teach that child!!!! Even if the child is sick, they are required to at least show up to be counted!!!! There is NO EXCUSED absence no “Butt in the seat” no munny hunny!!! It is incredibly short sighted on the part of the government!!! This policy adds to the already dangerous issue, of communicable diseases in our public schools!!!

    • Sick kids are not required to go to school when sick to be ‘counted’ — that’s why notes explaining kids’ absences are required — so that schools still get credit for the kid for their sick days.

  • Noravirus love filthy people with no concept of cleanliness. Since so many students got sick, what’s the common denominator here? Food preparation by whom? Were all the meals prepared at a specific location-then transported?? Very likely yes. Now, investigate ALL the employees doing the handling and preparation. Who are they? Are they illegals without commonsense cleanliness? Who’s their supervisor-is the “person” training correctly with sanitation NO. 1 priority? Did a new delivery of food-questionable in quality, cleanliness, current date usage(?) arrive and be used for the meals in question?? With Xmas vacation here, it’ll allow the full repetitious cleaning of all kitchen,tables, everything capable of being contaminated. The local health department has to be involved as well.
    This contamination should NEVER have happened. So who’s at fault? let’s find out!!!!!

    • What do illegals have to do with this. Nobody listened after that racist statement. It could have been anybody of any race. Fyi it made you look uneducated. So then …maybe it was you?

      • He didn’t mention race in connection with illegal. You went there.

        • thanks

        • They are obviously using it to mean prejudice. It’s becoming more common and will probably continue as it seems easier to use for a lot of people. Otherwise their sentiment is spot on. Mentioning illegals does nothing but cloud the real issue. Why do some people feel a need to always blame others? This is a community problem and it’s best if we solve it as such. Dividing and mud slinging will not help.

    • How about parents not teaching kids to clean their hands properly, and kids being kids and touching everything, everywhere? It only takes one kid not cleaning his/her hands after wiping their butt to spread the VIRUS, or sharing a drink or food.

  • In California there are excused absences and unexcused. Both do not count towards the attendance funding cycle. If there is a natural disaster, then the district may petition the state to waive those missed days.

    In regards to the aspersion on the front line food service workers, all of them are required to have passed the food safety handling course and test and be certified.

    • And that guarantees no one violates standards? I don’t think they are unreasonable issues to raise for examination anyway.

  • I still say-go to the location where this food was prepared. And hired employees can cheat on certification-this is Commicalifornia. Liberalism lets exceptions prevail.
    Chipolte had norovirus if I remember correctly and they had to repeatedly chlorine clean the entire business.
    Let’s talk about a muslim cook in Brooklyn(?) who got lots of people sick. “They” don’t wash their poop hand!!!!!!!!!! They caught him poop handed and he admitted his behavior was “condoned”. Ha!!!!!BS.
    So tell me about Humboldt and if there’s any difference here with foreigners/illegals/aliens(local or space) and their third world behavior patterns that DON”T change. We are directly affected by the “weakest link” and all it takes is one idiot to cause a disaster. Who(m) will they find?

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