Virus hits Greenon schools, more than 50 students absent last week

Updated Dec 20, 2017
Indian Valley Intermediate School. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

More than 50 Greenon Local School elementary and intermediate students were absent last week due to an outbreak of norovirus, health leaders said.

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A letter was sent home with students at both Enon Elementary School and Indian Valley Intermediate School at the end of the day Friday, Greenon Superintendent Brad Silvus said.

Over the weekend, custodial staff spent extra time cleaning, Silvus said. About 30 students missed school on Monday with the highly contagious virus.

“We’re doing a lot better,” Silvus said.

As of Tuesday morning, the district averaged 37 absences per day since Dec. 13, Clark County Combined Health District Public Information Officer Vince Carter said. That’s slightly above average from recent years, he said.

“It’s pretty common,” Carter said. “We haven’t seen a large uptick from previous years.”

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Symptoms of the virus include abdominal pains, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

Wednesday’s was Greenon’s last day before the holiday break. Health leaders advised against going to holiday gatherings if a person is still sick or has recently been ill with norovirus, Carter said.

“It’s very contagious,” he said.

norovirus typically lasts one to two days, Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said. The community has also seen several cases of norovirus-2, which lasts longer than the typical norovirus.

“It’s looking like a stronger version (of norovirus),” Patterson said. “It does not resolve quite so quickly. It may take a couple of days.”

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There have been 118 norovirus outbreaks this year between Aug. 1 and Nov. 7 in the nine states that participate in the Centers for Disease Control’s database system, including Ohio.

During the same period last year, those nine states reported 137 norovirus outbreaks, the database says.

People with norovirus must continually wash their hands because the virus can spread for up to seven days after symptoms go away, Carter said. People should also stay home from holiday parties to keep from spreading the illness, he said.

They also shouldn’t be making food for large groups, Patterson said.

“You have to be careful,” he said.

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Last December, South Vienna Elementary and Middle School — which are in the same school building — closed for two days as more than 100 students suffered from norovirus symptoms.

Because it is a viral infection, antibiotics won’t work to treat norovirus. One of the possible complications from norovirus is dehydration due to the loss of fluids from vomiting and diarrhea. Keeping hydrated is critical in the recovery from norovirus.

The peak time for the virus is November through April as people are indoors more due to the cold, winter months.

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