Possible norovirus outbreak at Nordstrom

11 students, staff affected with similar symptoms

Eleven Nordstrom Elementary School transitional kindergarten students were sent home June 3 with similar symptoms of abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The commonality of symptoms prompted Morgan Hill Unified School District officials to contact the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health to investigate the possibility of a norovirus.

“There has been a report of several illnesses at Nordstrom, but it has not been confirmed as norovirus, only suspected,” according to MHUSD spokesperson Lanae Bays. “Students and staff exhibited signs of this illness over the weekend between Friday and yesterday (June 3).”

Nordstrom principal Debbie Grove sent a letter home to families alerting them that several students and staff members became sick with vomiting and/or diarrhea. This is the last week of the 2018-19 school year.

“We are working with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department to investigate the situation, and we believe the situation is contained to one classroom,” Grove wrote. “From the information we currently have available, it appears that the illness may be caused by norovirus, and we have already begun the protocol below for sanitizing surfaces. Fortunately, people infected with norovirus usually recover quickly with rest and hydration.”

Attendance Tuesday, June 4 at Nordstrom was normal besides the 11 students and office staff who were affected and additional parents who kept their children home from school as a precautionary measure, according to Bays.

Cleaning crews disinfected the Nordstrom campus the evening of June 3, including the TK classroom, seven rooms, the administration office, the health clerk’s office and the kinder restroom.

“We are taking whatever preventative measures we can to avoid the spread of this illness to more students,” Bays said. “At last notice, we are working on getting a crew to clean the playground equipment.”


*What is norovirus? Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes sudden vomiting and diarrhea. Norovirus can spread quickly from person-to-person in closed environments and group settings, such as schools and childcare centers. It is sometimes called the “stomach flu” but is not related to influenza (flu) viruses, which usually cause respiratory infection. Therefore, flu shots do not protect against norovirus.

What are the symptoms of norovirus infection? Symptoms of norovirus usually begin 12 to 48 hours following exposure, and last for 1 to 3 days. The most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps. Other symptoms can include a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, or fatigue. People with norovirus can vomit or have diarrhea many times a day, which can lead to dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include decreased urination, dry mouth and throat, and dizziness when standing up. Children who are dehydrated may cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy.

How is norovirus infection treated? There are no specific treatments for norovirus. It cannot be treated with antibiotics, because it is not a bacterial infection. Drink plenty of fluids to replace fluid lost from vomiting and diarrhea, and to prevent dehydration.

*This information was provided to Nordstrom Elementary School families in a letter sent home to families after a possible norovirus incident in a transitional kindergarten class June 3.

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