Thursday, May 7, 2015

Dozens of kids at elementary school in Buckley come down with flu-like illness

BUCKLEY, Wash. — Dozens of kids in Pierce County are missing class, home sick with what could be a very contagious virus.

Annie McMurtrey, a mom of three, said two of her children came down with a pretty bad stomach bug last week and she’s got a feeling it may have been norovirus.

“His big sister, who’s in middle school, had it and she missed two days and then the next week he missed 5 days of school,” McMurtrey said of her son.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is reminding parents how to keep kids healthy after they say roughly 70 kids were absent from Mountain Meadow Elementary School in Buckley Wednesday.

Although there are no lab-confirmed cases of norovirus at the school, health officials say the telltale symptoms are there — bad cases of diarrhea and vomiting that last at least a day.

“Typical with these things, we may not get confirmation on norovirus.  It’s something where a lot of these won’t have a confirmed diagnosis using laboratory testing. It’s not needed. From the description that they are providing, it sounds as though it’s consistent with a norovirus-type outbreak,” said Nigel Turner with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

Health officials said the most important thing you and your kids can do is wash your hands, which is key to stopping the spread of the virus.

If someone in your family does come down with the virus, it’s also important to clean high touch surfaces in your home with bleach-based cleaners. And, last but not least, if children are sick, keep them home so they don’t infect anyone else.

The White River School District said it is taking the necessary steps to have the classrooms and buses cleaned to keep kids healthy.

School is on for Thursday, as normal.

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