United States

12 Students Sickened With Stomach Flu at NYC School

About a dozen students at a New York City school have been sickened with norovirus, commonly known as the stomach flu, about two weeks after an outbreak at another city school caused more than 200 students to be absent.

Education officials said parents at P.S. 58 Space Shuttle Columbia School on Staten Island were being notified of the illness.

The city's health department is investigating and in the meantime, the school is being thoroughly disinfected over the weekend, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education said.

Over 750 students are enrolled in the elementary school. 

Another elementary school in Queens, P.S. 12, was rocked by its own outbreak of norovirus two weeks ago. Dozens of students were sent home over two days after complaining of stomach issues, causing attendance at the school to plunge by as many as 210 students in one day. 

The Woodside school has 1,275 students and attendance averages 96 percent.

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that can be contracted from an infected person, contaminated food or water or by touching contaminated surfaces. It is the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms include stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, fever, headache and body aches. A person normally develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus. Most people get better within three days while drinking plenty of fluids.

To avoid exposure, federal officials advise people to wash their hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and before eating, preparing or handling food.  

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