Officials: Norovirus caused Richardson High School outbreak - Dallas News |

Officials: Norovirus caused Richardson High School outbreak

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The Dallas County Health Department confirmed hundreds of students at Richardson High School were sick last week because of the norovirus.

It started around Wednesday when more than 150 people missed school. Classes had to be dismissed early Friday because about 600 were out sick. Officials said absences on Monday were nearly 250 and were more than 200 on Tuesday.

"I had a couple of friends who actually stayed home who got it last night, so it's still getting around," said RHS Senior Hayden Harrison.

Students have tweeted photos with surgical masks and bottles of Lysol using #RHSPlauge. RISD spokesman Tim Clark said a couple of students did vomit in the hallway.

The high school underwent extensive cleaning over the weekend and will continue to be cleaned daily with anti-viral solutions. Areas cleaned six to seven times per day, according to school officials, include bathrooms, door handles and drinking fountains.

Officials also encouraged students to sanitize or wash their hands frequently and to stay home if they have symptoms.

"I went home and had a headache, then you start throwing up and it lasts three or four days," said RHS Senior Calvin Herbst. "I didn't come back to school until today and I feel a lot better. But, I know a lot of my friends are still out. It's nasty."

The highly contagious norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastrointestinal illness in the United States. Symptoms include stomach aches, nausea, diarrhea and/or vomiting. Health officials said the virus usually resolves on its own within 1-3 days.

Norovirus has been in the news recently because of outbreaks on cruise ships.

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