Virus outbreak shuts down Muscle Shoals City Schools - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Virus outbreak shuts down Muscle Shoals City Schools

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Muscle Shoals City Schools are closed until Monday to prevent the spread of a virus. Muscle Shoals City Schools are closed until Monday to prevent the spread of a virus.
MUSCLE SHOALS, AL (WAFF) -

Muscle Shoals City Schools canceled classes Thursday and Friday because of a virus outbreak.

School officials say the outbreak of what they say is Norovirus is affecting students at several schools, but the highest concentration of infection is at McBride Elementary.

Thursday morning, McBride Elementary had 286 absences. That's nearly half of the 600 students at the school.

About 400 students are out sick from school system-wide.

Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers says the Alabama Department of Public Health is coordinating with school officials and nurses to get samples for testing. She says the symptoms reported in patients could be caused by Norovirus. The state health department is waiting on samples to confirm the cause of the illnesses.

According to the CDC, Norovirus causes acute gastroenteritis in humans. The most common symptoms of acute gastroenteritis are diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.

ADPH is also conducting environmental inspections at the schools.

Dr. Landers says school officials are exercising caution by closing schools to prevent the spread of the virus. She said instances of the virus have occurred throughout the state and is not abnormal.

Parents can prevent the spread of the virus by promoting hand washing and good hygiene. Patients infected with the virus should stay at home.

Parents who suspect their child has come down with the virus should call their health care provider. Dr. Landers says no patients have been hospitalized because of the illness.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.

More on Norovirus

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Noroviruses spread easily, causing more than 20 million gastroenteritis cases each year in the U.S. There's no vaccine to prevent Norovirus infection and no drug to treat it. Wash your hands often and More>>

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