Norovirus Sickens Nearly 1,000 Across Northern California Schools
The Yolo County Health Department is issuing urgent warnings after 952 students and teachers across 32 schools contracted the highly contagious norovirus within a span of two weeks. The gastrointestinal illness has affected the Davis Joint Unified School District (181 cases); Esparto Unified School District (49 cases); Washington Unified School District (217 cases); Woodland Joint Unified School District (434 cases); Winters Joint Unified School District (39 cases); and the University of California, Davis (32 cases). A spokesman for Washington Unified says the virus has now reached every one of their schools in West Sacramento.
“The number of sick people is increasing every day at a very alarming rate,” said the Yolo County Health & Human Services Agency in a press release. It has issued a number of recommendations to the public, including frequent handwashing and disinfectant of surfaces. Anyone with stomach pain, fever, nausea and/or diarrhea is urged to self-quarantine until 48 hours after their symptoms have disappeared.
Norovirus causes acute gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting and diarrhea. It is spread person-to-person or through contaminated surfaces, food, or water. It has been at the center of several high-profile outbreaks over the years. More than 600 people were sickened with the virus aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in 2014. Last year, County News reported on a smaller outbreak enveloping the state during the holidays, with the largest cluster in Marin County.
For more information on what norovirus is, how it is contracted, and what you can do to protect yourself, check out this video from the CDC.