Published: Wednesday, December 20, 2017
A significant number of students from Eureka City Schools are sick from an outbreak of what Public Health officials believe to be Norovirus. Based on advice from Public Health officials, all Eureka City Schools’ sites (Alice Birney, Grant, Lafayette, Washington, Winship, Zane, Eureka High, Zoe Barnum, Winzler, and Eureka Adult School) will be closed on Thursday, December 21st and Friday, December 22nd in an effort to prevent further spread of the Norovirus illness. This closure includes all school-sponsored sports and other extracurricular activities.
According to the Department of Public Health, 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.
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.
Eureka City Schools’ staff is working closely with Public Health officials in limiting the spread of illness.
According to Eureka City Schools Superintendent, Dr. Fred Van Vleck, "This was a difficult decision to make; however, we believe it is in the best interest of our students, staff and families. We look forward to the return of our students on Monday, January 8."