Cause for illnesses at Russellville Schools announced

The Cole County Health Department (CCHD) has identified the earlier reported illness at the Cole Cole R-1 Elementary & Middle School as Norovirus.

The investigation isolated norovirus as a cause of illness among students based on their symptoms, onset date and time of illness, duration of illness, incubation period of the virus, epidemiological analysis, and confirmatory test results from the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory.

Norovirus is a viral infection which is a leading cause of severe gastroenteritis among children.

"Illness caused by norovirus is unpleasant and common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramping," said Cole County Health Director Marie Peoples.

The illness is short-lived and usually lasts for 1 or 2 days.

Peoples said there is no vaccine or treatment for norovirus; however, the best course of action is prevention.

The health department recommended prevention practices such as proper hand-washing with soap and water as alcohol-based alone are not as effective against the virus.

Students or family members with norovirus-like symptoms should stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and remain at home until their symptoms are resolved. Ill students and family members should contact their health care provider if their symptoms worsen.

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