November 1, 2014

Norovirus strikes Lenexa elementary; local schools unaffected

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
Approximately 40 students have been diagnosed with Norovirus at a Lenexa elementary school, but to date no students in the Gardner Edgerton or Spring Hill school districts have been diagnosed with the illness.
The Lenexa outbreak shuttered Rose Hill Elementary for two days.
“We are taking our standard safety precautions to avoid any kind of disease outbreak,” Christine Splichal, communications director for the Spring Hill School District, said.
“The highest precautions for any contagious virus or disease that could effect any student or adult in our buildings are practiced on a daily basis, said Leanne Northway, communications director USD 231.”
That means the regular sterilization of some equipment and handwashing protocols.
According to Johnson County Health officials, the norovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes gastroenteritis, or inflammation in the lining of the stomach and intestines.
It can’t grow outside of a person’s body, but it spreads easily from person-to-person through direct contact, like sharing food or utensils with someone who is sick. It can also be passed by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the norovirus and putting that hand in or near the mouth.
That’s why health officials advise anyone who feels sick to stay home.
From NOROVIRUS, page 1
“The only things we can tell people are, use proper handwashing,” Jennifer Dunlay, a staff member at the Johnson County Health Department. “And stay home from work. Stay home. Stay home from daycare.”
People infected with the norovirus are most contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick to at least three days after recovery. It can remain in stools even longer, which is one reason health officials say it is important to continue proper handwashing.
Symptoms of norovirus include naseau, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. The illness typically begins suddenly with symptoms lasting one-to-two days.
Parents of Spring Hill School District students soon will have a new avenue of health information soon. Each school in the district will soon have a “Nurse’s Corner” feature on their websites.
The Prairie Creek Elementary School launched its “Nurse’s Corner” web page this week.
“Sometimes it is so helpful to have that health information at your fingertips,” Splichal said. “Like reminders of when not to send your kids to school and some helpful links. That’s what we’re doing with the website.”

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