Norovirus Infection Confirmed at Algonquin School Friday
Over half of the student population at Westfield Community School in Algonquin was absent Friday.
An outbreak of the norovirus infection was confirmed at an Algonquin school late Friday afternoon, according to a Kane County Health Department press release.
The health department began investigating the illnesses at Westfield Community School, 2100 Sleepy Hollow Road in Algonquin, after 27 percent of the student population was absent Thursday, according to the press release. On Friday, over half of the student's population stayed home.
"The most common symptoms of norovirus infection are diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain," according to the news release. "It is often called by other names, such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning."
The Kane County Health Department collected samples from students that were ill and interviewed parents and students. The norovirus infection confirmation came late Friday afternoon, according to the press release.
“This is an example of all parties — the school district, IDPH and the Health Department — working closely and quickly to find the cause of an illness to protect the health of our residents,” said Kane County Health Department Director Paul Kuehnert. “We know that nororvirus is highly contagious and can spread rapidly in a school.”
The Kane County Health Department provided the following tips to prevent the spread of norovirus:
- Practice proper hand hygiene: Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers and always before eating or preparing food. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 62 percent ethanol may be a helpful addition to hand washing, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water. Visit Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives for more information.
- Take care in the kitchen: Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.
- Do not prepare food while infected: People who are infected with norovirus should not prepare food for others while they have symptoms and for 3 days after they recover from their illness.
- Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces: After an episode of illness, such as vomiting or diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces by using a bleach-based household cleaner as directed on the product label or a solution made by adding 5 to 25 tablespoons of household bleach to 1 gallon of water.
- Wash laundry thoroughly: Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or fecal matter. Handle soiled items carefully—without agitating them—to avoid spreading virus. They should be laundered with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dried.