Gloucester County Department of Health & Senior Services Statement Regarding NOROVIRUS at Washington Township High School
On Thursday February 23rd, The Gloucester County Department of Health and Senior Services performed investigations in response to elevated absenteeism rates at Washington Township High School.
The results of the testing confirm that the virus responsible for the illness is a Norovirus. This gastrointestinal virus causes vomiting and diarrhea and may be associated with headache, fever, and abdominal cramps.
The high school has responded appropriately and every measure has been implemented to ensure the safety of the students and faculty. There have been no known hospitalizations related to this event.
Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause the stomach flu or gastroenteritis in people.
People can become infected with the virus in several ways, including:
- Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus;
- Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then placing their hand in their mouth;
- Having direct contact with another person who is infected and showing symptoms (for example, when caring for someone with illness, or sharing foods or eating utensils with someone who is ill).
You can decrease your chance of coming in contact with noroviruses by following these preventive steps:
- Frequently wash your hands, especially after toilet visits and before eating or preparing food.
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of illness by using a bleach-based household cleaner.
- Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with virus after an episode of illness (use hot water and soap).
Persons who are infected with norovirus should try to minimize their contact with others while they are ill and should not prepare food during their illness. Food that may have been contaminated by an ill person should be disposed of properly.
For more information on the Norovirus or other gastrointestinal viruses please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov.