Health officials: Possible stomach virus outbreak sickens more than 100 students at Babylon High School
A possible stomach virus outbreak has sickened more than 100 students at Babylon High School, and the Suffolk County health commissioner says the norovirus may be the cause.
News 12 spoke with parents who say the last few days and weeks have been hard, as entire families have fallen ill.
The virus is highly contagious, and symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain.
"It just takes one or two people who have this virus and touches a lot of different places and doesn't wash their hands properly," says Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. Greyson Pigott.
Tenth grader Kate Schmitt said she was sick a few weeks ago. Many more found themselves experiencing the symptoms at a school dance Friday night.
"My brother went to the dance, and he just said everyone was throwing up— he only lasted 10 minutes there," Schmitt says.
The district sent an alert to parents on Saturday asking them to keep their children home if they were having stomach issues.
On Monday, officials say half the student population were marked absent.
Norovirus can be spread by a sick person handling food. News 12 has learned the health commissioner deployed a team to the high school cafeteria to investigate but found it did not spread there.
The school also had custodial staff working over the weekend to sanitize surfaces.
The school district says attendance numbers have been going up daily this week.
Doctors say the best thing to do to avoid the virus is to wash your hands with soap and water. They also say anyone with diarrhea should not be preparing food for anyone else.