Klamath County Public Health Addresses Stomach Flu in Schools

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Klamath County Public Health is aware that a number of students in various schools are experiencing gastrointestinal-like symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or cramps and diarrhea. Public health officials are currently working in collaboration with the Oregon Health Authority in preventing the spread of gastrointestinal-viruses, such as, Norovirus and Enterovirus.

 

Klamath County Public Health wants the community to know, although Norovirus and Enterovirus are commonly referred to as the “stomach flu”, is not to be confused with the Influenza “Flu” virus, which is a respiratory infection that can be prevented by getting an annual influenza “flu” vaccine.

 

Norovirus and Enterovirus infections are common, highly contagious and commonly spread through touching surfaces contaminated with the virus, close contact with someone who is infected, or eating contaminated food or drink.  The spread of viral infections can be prevented by staying home when sick, washing hands often, particularly after using the restroom, cleaning and disinfecting contaminated surfaces and clothing or linens.

Norovirus and Enterovirus infections are usually not serious, although people may feel very sick and may vomit and have diarrhea several times a day. Most individuals  improve within 1 or 2 days. However, some may require medical attention, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Courtney Vanbragt, Klamath County Public Health Director, advises anyone who is experiencing Norovirus or Enterovirus-like symptoms to remain at home for at least 48 hours after symptoms are gone. Individuals infected with these viruses are still contagious for up to 48 hours even after symptoms have disappeared.

 

School and childcare facilities are encouraged to track and record students who are absent, to include the reason for their absence.   

 

Klamath County Public Health will continue to work with community partners to provide education and assistance in the prevention, containment and decontamination of affected facilities. 

 

If you think you have this infection, please follow these recommendations:

 

  • Stay home and rest for at least 48 hours after symptoms have resolved. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids, such as clear fluids and popsicles to help prevent dehydration.
  • WASH HANDS FREQUENTLY with soap, rub hands together vigorously for at least one-minute before rinsing.
  • Wash hands after using the bathroom, cleaning, changing diapers, and before eating or preparing food. 
  • Disinfect household surfaces with a bleach solution (1-part bleach mixed with 8 parts water) or another approved norovirus cleaner to prevent further transmission.
  • Call your health provider if your symptoms last longer than three days, you have bloody diarrhea, a fever greater than 100.5, or signs of dehydration.
  • Isolate infected individuals from other family members until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.

 

If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact Courtney Vanbragt, Klamath County Public Health Director at 541-882-8846.