Officials: Norovirus sickened 170 at Elementary School

Authorities in Union County believe 170 people sickened after eating at an elementary school last week contracted the fast-spreading Norovirus.

Last week, the county began investigating what caused students, staff or people who visited Shiloh Elementary to have gastrointestinal problems that apparently started last Wednesday.

The most common symptoms were vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and loss of appetite, according to the county. In the most extreme case, one person had to visit a local emergency room Friday, said Richard Matens, executive director of the county Department of Human Services.

The county sent samples from four people to the state division of public health. Union County officials announced the results on Thursday.

Last Friday, 162 students out of 560 were absent, along with 11 teachers. That’s nearly a third of the student population.

Shiloh Elemetary was cleaned over the holiday weekend, Union County Public Schools spokeswoman Tahira Stalberte told the Observer.

People can contract norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes a victim’s stomach and intestines to get inflamed, causing the symptoms.

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Twitter: @CleveWootson