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PROVO — A norovirus outbreak has schools in Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain on watch.
The Utah County Health Department sent a letter to parents, faculty and staff at all public schools in the two Utah County cities, warning them of an “outbreak of gastrointestinal illness … (that) appears to be highly contagious.” The department says it believes the illness is caused by norovirus.
Norovirus is an extremely contagious virus that results in diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The virus can be passed by touching the same surfaces as an infected person, consuming contaminated food and even breathing in the fumes from an infected person’s vomit, the department said.
The virus can affect a large group of people in a short amount of time, and the health department urges parents to keep their children home until 72 hours after vomiting and diarrhea have ended. The symptoms of norovirus usually persist for one to three days.
BREAKING: All public schools in Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain #Utah put on alert for outbreak of gastrointestinal illness. Utah County Health Dept. says appears to be highly contagious #Norovirus. @KSL5TV@kslnewsradio@KSLcom@saratogasprngut@email@example.com/rKOPqk0PJQ— Ladd Egan (@laddegan) September 5, 2018
“Even if they just have an upset stomach, please keep them home while they are feeling ill. As it is possible that they may vomit while at school,” the department’s letter reads.
Alpine School District officials are working to stop the spread of the virus, according to Kimberly Bird, assistant to the superintendent.
"We've got really great chemicals that we use in (the) cleaning of our schools on a regular basis," she said.
Schools reporting symptoms
- Riverview Elementary School
- Saratoga Shores Elementary
- Westlake High School
- Black Ridge Elementary School
- Brookhaven Elementary School
- Frontier Middle School
- Mountain Trails Elementary School
- Pony Express Elementary
Bird added that all of the district's custodians will be notified of the highly contagious virus.
Those with symptoms should not prepare food for anyone else since the virus can be passed from an infected person’s hands to the food, the department added.
The health department did not immediately release the number of reported cases.
Contributing: Ladd Egan, KSL TV