Norovirus Outbreak in Anchorage Schools
A recent outbreak of norovirus is being investigated at several schools in the district. Thorough hand washing and staying home when sick are the best ways to prevent the spread of these viruses.
Learn more about the virus and how to protect against it with these resources from the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Norovirus FAQ from the State of Alaska DHSS
What is norovirus?
Norovirus is one of a larger group of viruses called caliciviruses. You might hear it called Norwalk virus or ‘ stomach flu. ’ Infection with these viruses is a common cause of gastrointestinal illness worldwide.
It is not related to influenza or the ‘flu.’
What are the symptoms of an infection with norovirus?
The most common symptoms are sudden onset of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps.
These symptoms occur in all age groups although diarrhea is more common among adults and vomiting is more common among children.
Many people also experience headache, fever, chills , and muscle aches.
How are these viruses spread?
Noroviruses are spread by:
- eating food contaminated with stool or vomit from an infected person
- drinking w ater or other fluids contaminated with stool or vomit from an infected person
- person - to - person contact
- virus spreading through the air during vomiting
How soon do symptoms appear?
The symptoms may appear from 12 - 72 hours after exposure to the virus, but usually within 24 to 48 hours.
What is the treatment for this illness?
There is no treatment for this illness.
Most people recover in two to three days after they become ill.
It is important to ensure adequate fluid intake to prevent dehydration .
My child has already been ill . Are they immune?
You can get norovirus illness many times in your life.
One reason for this is that there are many different types of noroviruses.
Being infected with one type of norovirus may not protect you against other types.
Immunity to any of these viruses is short-lived.
There is no vaccine for norovirus.
Should I notify someone if my child is ill?
You need to call your school if your child will be absent.
You do not need to notify the health department.
You should seek medical attention if you are concerned that your child is becoming de hydrated.
Some signs of dehydration include decreased urination, dryness in the mouth, increasing fatigue, or lethargy.
If you are a parent of an ill special needs child, you may want to notify your health care provider for guidance.
How long will my child be infectious? When can my child return to school?
People are infectious while symptoms are present and for at least three days after diarrhea or vomiting