A 24-hour stomach bug outbreak in San Jose Unified School District schools continues to grow, with 421 students sickened at 17 schools since the outbreak began around May 4, district officials said Friday.
Since the duration of the illness is relatively brief, most of those students affected are already healthy and back in class.
While new cases were reported at three additional schools, eight schools had little or no increase in cases, including Hacienda Elementary, which had been the hardest hit. The number of cases at Washington and Horace Mann dropped as a number of students with stomach aches and general nausea had been included in previous reports.
District officials estimated Wednesday that more than 200 students had been sickened by the outbreak, but say the growing number of cases is driven primarily by just four schools.
So far the outbreak is only affecting students. No teachers or staff have reported catching the virus, according to the district.
To help combat the outbreak, cleaning crews have been sanitizing surfaces in common areas of the affected schools, like playgrounds, computer labs, classrooms and cafeterias.
School nurses have been educating the students on proper hand-washing habits, and a number of non-instructional school events have been canceled or postponed to limit the spread of the virus.
The symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, which points to norovirus, according to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, but
that has not yet been confirmed by a laboratory.
Any parent with a student showing symptoms of the stomach bug is asked to keep their child home for a full 48 hours after they appear to be
healthy again, since patients continue to shed the virus during that timeframe even after they feel better.
The most common norovirus symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus spreads through contact, such as eating food after an infected person, touching a contaminated surface and then putting your fingers in your mouth, or having direct contact with an infected person.