UPDATE: Health Dept. officials suspect Norovirus caused Bridport school closing

BRIDPORT — Vermont Department of Health officials on Thursday were busy investigating the causes of a stomach bug that swept through the Bridport Central School community this week and ultimately forced the cancellation of classes on Thursday and Friday.
Moira Cook, Middlebury district director for the Department of Health, today said officials from her office were looking for evidence within the school and had reached out to teachers and students to get vomit and/or stool samples in an effort to pinpoint the illness that had affected 90 percent of the school’s 80 students — along with several adults — by Wednesday.
ACSU Superintendent Gail Conley said a majority of students did not show up for classes on Wednesday. When additional students had to be sent home, Conley made the decision to close the school through the balance of the week.
Cook suspects a Norovirus to have been the culprit, but wants to make sure. She explained that is a virus that can be transmitted via food, commonly touched surfaces and person-to-person contact. Symptoms include stomach discomfort, diarrhea and vomiting.
“Fortunately, it is a pretty short-lived illness,” Cook said. “A lot of the kids are recovering and feeling better. Hopefully, everyone will be well and back in school on Monday.”
As of Thursday, Cook did not believe the virus was spread by food at the school.
“From what we understand, (school) staff who have come down with this did not eat at the cafeteria,” she said.
Cook stressed people should wash their hands thoroughly and often, as well as clean high-traffic surfaces, to avoid contracting the virus.

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