Archive for the ‘United States’ Category

Alaska Airlines: Pilot who fainted had stomach bug

The Alaska Airlines pilot who lost consciousness during a Seattle-bound flight Thursday night, prompting an emergency landing, was suffering from food poisoning or a stomach virus, an airline spokesman said Friday.

The co-pilot of Flight 473 safely landed the jetliner in Portland, Ore., after declaring an emergency to get priority care for the pilot, spokesman Paul McElroy said. All of the airline’s pilots are trained to fly single-handedly.

McElroy said the pilot was in good condition Friday at a hospital where doctors examined him. The airline declined to release the pilot’s name or age.

The Boeing 737-700 with 116 passengers and five crew members left Los Angeles at about 6:30 p.m. and had been scheduled to arrive in Seattle at 9:30 p.m. It touched down in Portland at about 9 p.m.

The pilot lost consciousness near Eugene, Ore., and hit his head, McElroy said. He then later regained consciousness and left the cockpit. A doctor aboard the flight tended to the pilot in the cabin until the plane landed and was met by medical personnel on the runway.

Passenger Hylan Slobodkin told KOMO News that he saw the pilot pass out when he went into the cabin.

“Came out of the cockpit and collapsed on the aisle,” he said. “Hit his head on something and called doctors, and fortunately there was a young woman who was a fourth-year medical student who ran to his aid.”

McElroy said the pilot has been flying for Seattle-based Alaska Air Group Inc. for 28 years and was current on his six-month medical evaluation. The co-pilot is an 11-year Alaska Air veteran.

On Jan. 22, the co-pilot on an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Las Vegas fainted briefly, and the pilot requested emergency landing priority to get prompt medical assistance for him.

“At this point we do not believe there was a connection between the two incidents,” McElroy said.

He said pilots are highly encouraged to report if they’re not feeling well, but in both of the recent cases, the “pilots felt fine when they reported for duty.” Their dizziness and fainting came very suddenly, he said.

Twenty passengers with a tight schedule for connecting flights were put on a Horizon Air shuttle flight to Seattle on Thursday night, McElroy said. A new pilot was dispatched to Portland to fly the remaining passengers to Seattle on the same plane.




Stomach flu quarantines 700 inmates at Cook County Jail

An outbreak of the stomach flu in about 30 prisoners has prompted a quarantine of one of the largest divisions in the Cook County Jail, officials said Wednesday.

The quarantine of Division II will remain in effect until further notice, according to a press release issued by Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart. Detainees in the affected unit will have limited movement and visitations will be prohibited during the quarantine.

To prevent further exposure, the division’s living, dining, shower, toilet areas as well as all high-touch surface areas are being disinfected. The inmates’ linens have been changed and are being laundered separately, Dart said.

Sophia Ansari, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said as of Wednesday afternoon about 30 inmates have fallen ill. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

Ansari said the quarantine could possibly put pressure on the jail’s finances over the next few days.

“The inmates housed in Division II are more minimum-security prisoners and they’re the ones that help out in a lot of the programs within the jail,” she said. Because of the quarantine, prisoners within this division will be unable to participate. As a result, medium-security inmates may be needed to cover the food transportation and cleaning responsibilities.

Ansari said medium-security inmates would require more supervision from officers and could drive up costs. Additional staff members might also be needed if the flu bug continues to spread.

Jail employees from the quarantined division are being closely monitored to prevent an outbreak within the staff, according to the release. Exposure to sick detainees is being limited and the sheriff’s office is closely monitoring the jail to ensure the virus does not spread to other divisions.




CDC: New version of stomach bug causing US illness

NEW YORK (AP) – Health officials say a new strain of stomach bug that’s sweeping the globe is taking over in the U.S.

In the last four months, more than 140 outbreaks in the U.S. have been caused by the new Sydney strain of norovirus. These kinds of contagious bugs cause bouts of diarrhea and vomiting.

The new strain may not be unusually dangerous; some scientists don’t think it is. But it is different, and many people might not be able to fight off its gut-wrenching effects.

It often spreads in places like schools, cruise ships and nursing homes. The new strain was blamed for a recent outbreak on the Queen Mary 2.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on the new strain Thursday.




Beware of Stomach Bug in Anne Arundel

There is no vaccine for the highly contagious stomach “flu,” which isn’t really a flu at all, so make sure you’re washing your hands properly.

Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs, diseases and other conditions. It’s so important to perform this task properly that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a whole website dedicated to handwashing instructions.

Throughout the year—and not just flu season—handwashing can help prevent the spread of viruses that are highly contagious, such as noroviruses or “stomach bugs.”

How to recognize symptoms and tips to avoid infection were outlined in a recent Patch blog by David Clark, Patient First community relations coordinator. Clark wrote:

Despite being referred to as stomach flu, norovirus is not really the flu, which is a respiratory infection. Norovirus inflames the stomach and intestines which causes stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some people may also have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, body aches and fatigue. These symptoms can show up suddenly from one to three days after you are exposed to the virus.

A health officer with the Anne Arundel County Department of Health told The Capital that more gastroenteritis (caused by noroviruses) cases could be expected in February and March.

According to the health department’s website, there is no antibiotic treatment available and there is no vaccine to prevent gastroenteritis. Those infected should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

For prevention, washing your hands is key to keeping germs at bay. In situations where soap and water are not available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol but also warns that sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.




New Stomach Bug: The Latest Norovirus And Everything You Need To Know

A new strain of the stomach bug norovirus, or what points out as “the winter vomiting disease,” has hit the United States hard after spreading around the world in places such as Japan and Western Europe, according to reports.

Since September, more than 140 outbreaks of the new stomach bug in the U.S. have been caused by what the Center for Disease Control and Prevention calls the new GII.4 Sydney strain of norovirus. The CDC says the proportion of norovirus outbreaks jumped dramatically from 19 percent in September to 58 percent in December.

A report from the CDC released Thursday says that the new stomach bug, first identified in Australia in March of last year as the Sydney strain, is now accounting for about 60 percent of norovirus outbreaks in the U.S. Every two or three years, a new strain evolves — the last strain coming in 2009 — and when that happens, people who already had previous versions of the stomach bug are more likely to get it again. While scientists do say the new stomach bug isn’t life-threatening, it’s nonetheless different, and many people may not be able to fight off the effects — bouts of vomiting and diarrhea for a few days.

What’s more is that the new stomach bug’s appearance, which is actually common this time of year, typically striking between November and April with the peak usually occurring in January, has coincided with the recent influenza craze across the country, which might be contributing to the idea that Americans are experiencing an abnormally bad flu season. However, experts say the outbreaks aren’t related.

“Right now, it’s too soon to tell whether the new strain of norovirus will lead to more outbreaks than in previous years,” said Dr. Aron Hall, a CDC epidemiologist specializing in viruses. “However, CDC continues to work with state partners to watch this closely and see if the strain is associated with more severe illness.”

Norovirus, now the most common cause of food poisoning in the U.S. once known as Norwalk virus, is highly contagious and often spreads quickly in places like schools, cruise ships, nursing homes and other confined spaces containing a large group of people, especially during the winter. Last month, norovirus infected 220 people on the Queen Mary II during a Caribbean cruise.

“You can be feeling quite fine one minute and within several hours suffer continuous vomiting and diarrhea,” said Ian Goodfellow, a prominent researcher at England’s University of Cambridge to the Associated Press.

Here’s more of what you need to know about the new strain of the stomach bug norovirus:

- It can be spread making contact with food handlers infected with it who don’t wash their hands well or the surfaces they use and through the air via droplets or particles that fly when a sick person vomits (projectile vomiting)

- Each year, norovirus is the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis, causing more than 21 million illnesses and 800 deaths, according to the CDC

- For those infected, there’s no medicine, but rather preventative measures, including washing hands with soap and water, disinfecting surfaces, rinsing fruits and vegetables, cooking shellfish thoroughly and not preparing food or caring for others while ill

- Young children and the elderly are most at risk of norovirus and the serious complications it brings, usually because of the danger of dehydration from rapid fluid loss, which can cause blood pressure to drop, which in turn can result in fainting that can lead to falls

- Those infected can experience symptoms for a few days, so they must do their best to stay hydrated




Tony Danza’s stomach bug freaks out passengers on first class flight

While the flu epidemic has most Americans bathing in Purel and clamoring for vaccines, Tony Danza freaked out several passengers, including Kate Upton, in first class aboard an American Airlines flight to New York from Los Angeles this weekend.

Danza was spotted vomiting into a paper bag during the flight, which unnerved passengers sitting nearby. A source told us that Danza explained he caught the flu “from his grandson or something.”

Some passengers then scurried to switch seats, as to not catch his germs, though Upton stayed put. “I feel bad for him, but stay home if you are sick,” said one fellow flier.

A friend of Danza confirmed he had a “24-hour stomach bug” but is “doing much better.”




Stomach flu stifles Western Michigan basketball leading scorer Nate Hutcheson

KALAMAZOO, MI – Steve Hawkins was fully engaged during his Western Michigan University basketball team’s practice Friday afternoon at University Arena as the Broncos prepared for tonight’s road game at Northern Illinois.

WMU senior Nate Hutcheson, on the other hand, probably would have preferred to skip Friday altogether. The 6-foot-7 forward sat courtside during the practice in a sweatshirt and sweatpants, much of the time with his head in his hands as he battled the effects of stomach flu.

Hawkins was non-committal about Hutcheson’s status for the Broncos’ (9-7, 1-2 Mid-American Conference) game at 8 p.m. (Eastern time) today in DeKalb, Ill., but chances are the team’s leading scorer at 11.6 points per contest will suit up against the Huskies (3-12, 1-2).

WMU senior reserve forward Dan Loney and freshman wing Charles Harris, on the other hand, will not play. Loney, who does the dirty work off the Broncos’ bench, is out with a concussion he suffered in Wednesday’s 79-56 home win over Toledo. Harris is still on the mend from a separated shoulder.

Hawkins said that several of the Broncos have had a stomach bug this season.

“I’ve had it three different times now and if it’s the same strain, which I’m not a doctor, then it was roughly a 24-hour bug,” he said after practice Friday, before the Broncos boarded the bus for their road trip to the Chicagoland area. “And so I know (Hutcheson is) pushing fluids. I don’t know if he’s still throwing up or not. I know he was last night and this morning, got the chills and all that.

“If we can keep fluids in him, it helps that the game is not until 7 (Central time) and not a 2 o’clock start. So probably every hour matters.”




Is It Influenza or a Stomach Bug?

In tonight’s Healthier Me, while influenza cases are spiking, so are cases of the stomach flu.

Dr. Kirsten Juhl: “Viral gastroenteritis is not the same as influenza. Both are caused by viruses. Respiratory influenza is what you get the flu shot for; it causes coughing and possibly pneumonia. The other bug causes diarrhea and vomiting and … that kind of illness.”

Covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough and good handwashing will help prevent the spread of both illnesses.

Whether you have the stomach flu or respiratory influenza, doctors recommend staying home for 24 hours after symptoms disappear so you don’t spread the infection, and they remind you that dehydration is a big concern if you have the stomach bug.

Keep in contact with your doctor if your symptoms persist, and don’t spread the germs to others by going to hospitals and clinics when you don’t need to.




Flu, acute stomach bug breaks out in long-term care facilities

CLAREMORE — The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) Acute Disease Service (ADS) has issued reports of influenza and acute gastroenteritis outbreaks in long-term care facilities (LTCF). As flu activity increases, so does the risk of illness among LTCF residents and staff.

Since Sept. 30, eight deaths and 484 hospitalizations have been reported to the OSDH. Counties of residents with flu-associated deaths include- Creek, Mayes, Muskogee, Pittsburg, Rogers and Tulsa County.

According to a release from the Oklahoma Health Alert Network five LTCFs located across the state reported outbreaks of flu among residents and employees.

In addition, five acute gastroenteritis outbreaks involving LTCF residents and staff have been reported to the ADS so far this month. Acute Gastroenteritis, a severe inflammation or infection of the digestive tract, can be deadly if left untreated.

Acute gastroenteritis is a severe inflammation or infection of the digestive tract, particularly the stomach and intestines and can be deadly if left untreated.

According to OSDH’s public health fact sheet the microorganism Norovirus, causes acute gastro, spreads quickly and is often responsible for outbreaks in institutional settings. Achieving high seasonal flu vaccine rates is the most important means to preventing an outbreak in a LTCF. Facilities should review immunization records of all residents to ensure they have been provided the opportunity to receive this year’s flu vaccine.

OSDH Director of Communications Leslea Bennett-Webb said Norovirus is often thought of to be a stomach flu because the side effects are mostly in the abdominal, intestinal area and can include vomiting and diarreha.
“Influenza is actually a respiratory problem,” said Webb. “There is no such thing as a stomach flu.”

No specific treatment for Norovirus is available. The best prevention against both the flu and norovirus is to wash hands with a generous amount of soap, she said.

Outbreaks have been linked to sick food handlers, contaminated shell fish or water contaminated with sewage.




Stomach bug added to mental health ‘crisis’

MANCHESTER – The stomach flu played a substantial role in a key date last week, a day when 31 mentally ill people languished in hospital emergency rooms, unable to be properly placed in a treatment facility, health officials acknowledged this week.

The Cypress Center, a 16-bed residential mental health treatment facility in Manchester, could not accept new patients and had 13 idle beds because of an outbreak of the highly contagious norovirus, said Kendall Snow, spokesman for the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester.

On that day, Jan. 7, advocates for the mentally ill announced that 31 adults and three children were undergoing a crisis and waiting in hospital emergency rooms for placement into a treatment facility. The number represented a record, and highlighted a crisis in the underfunded mental health system, advocates said.

Ken Norton, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said he was unaware of the situation at Cypress Center when he announced the backlog in emergency rooms.

The previous record backlog was 26, he said, and even if the Cypress Center beds were available, the backlog would be large.

“Twenty people waiting in an emergency room instead of 30? It’s still a crisis with 20 people,” he said.

Nancy Rollins, associate New Hampshire commissioner of Health and Human Services, said state officials heard from the Riverbend community mental health center on the morning of Jan. 7. The day was a Monday, which officials said is the heaviest for admissions to mental health treatment facilities.

Concord Hospital’s yellow pod, the term for the stabilization room, was overloaded, and Riverbend asked the state for help in finding placements.

Usually, Cypress Center can take patients who have been stabilized in an emergency room and agree to go there. It can also take involuntary patients when necessary, Snow said.

But the norovirus had put Cypress Center out of commission. Thirteen beds were empty, and the three patients there had the norovirus. The city Health Department had urged Cypress Center not to admit any more patients, Snow said.
“That just shows how fragile the system is,” Rollins said. “When one thing gets really backed up, there can be a significant impact that ripples through the system.”

Rollins said New Hampshire Hospital ended up adding eight beds in visitor areas to take pressure off Concord Hospital.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the norovirus spreads quickly from person to person, especially among those in confined spaces such as long-term care facilities, day care centers, schools and hotels. It is spread through contaminated food, surfaces, and direct contact with infected people.

“We’re admitting people who are run down to begin with,” and therefore susceptible to disease,” Snow said.

Cypress Center cleaned and sanitized its facility at the end of last week, but officials again had to restrict admissions this week when the norovirus reappeared.




Stomach bug season underway

SPRINGVILLE — The Erie County Department of Health has announced that, in addition to flu season, this is the peak time for the spread of the norovirus, colloquially known as the stomach bug.

“Norovirus is a very contagious virus that can infect anyone at any time. Someone can get it from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces,” said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein. “Frequent hand-washing is the most important health tip for all of us to remember, so that we don’t spread illness.”

Noroviruses are the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the United States. The Center for Disease Control estimated that more than 20 million annual cases of acute gastroenteritis are caused by noroviruses. Approximately one out of every 15 Americans will contract norovirus illness, each year. The norovirus causes more than 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths, each year, in the United States.

Norovirus illness is sometimes incorrectly labeled “food poisoning” or the “stomach flu.” While food poisoning can be caused by noroviruses, other germs and chemicals can also cause this malady. The norovirus illness is not related to the flu, which is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus.

Symptoms of norovirus infection may include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach cramping. Other, less common symptoms include a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue.

Anyone may be infected with noroviruses and become ill. In addition, anyone can get norovirus illness more than once, during his or her lifetime.

This sickness often begins suddenly, but the norovirus illness is usually not serious. Most people get better in one – two­ days, but the norovirus illness can be serious in young children, the elderly and people with other health conditions. It can lead to severe dehydration, hospitalization and death.

There is no vaccine to prevent norovirus infection and no drug exists to treat people who get sick from this virus.

To reduce the chance of getting norovirus, wash hands often, with soap and water, especially after using the toilet, changing diapers and before eating, preparing or handling food. If soap and water are not available, utilize an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Alcohol-based products can reduce the number of germs on hands, in some situations, but are not a substitute for washing with soap and water.

For more information, visit the Erie County Department of Health’s website,; the New York State Department of Health’s website, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website,




Hillary Clinton withdraws from Arab trip because of stomach bug

Cancellation of Middle East visit comes as US brands Syrian rebel group with alleged ties to al-Qaida as terrorist organisation

Hillary Clinton has pulled out of a weeklong trip to the Middle East and north Africa because of a stomach virus.

The cancellation of the US secretary of state’s trip came as the Obama administration declared a Syrian rebel group with alleged ties to al-Qaida as a terrorist organisation.

The announcement was one of several Clinton planned to bring with her to the region as part of a US effort to enhance co-operation with moderates in the Syrian coalition fighting Bashar al-Assad and isolate extremists.

Clinton’s deputy, William Burns, will take her place on the trip to Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

“Since she’s still under the weather, we’ll be staying put this week instead of heading to north Africa and the Middle East as originally planned,” Clinton’s spokesman, Philippe Reines, said.

On the first stop, Marrakech on Wednesday, Burns is expected to recognise Syria’s new opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, officials said. Clinton had been expected to make the declaration, which is designed to reward anti-Assad leaders for making their movement more inclusive and facilitate greater US assistance.

Earlier on Monday, the administration took action against the rebel militia Jabhat al-Nusra, which has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings on Syrian government targets and raised fears of growing Islamist extremism among the opposition.

By branding the group a terrorist organisation, the US government is freezing any assets Jabhat al-Nusra holds in the US and barring Americans from doing business with the group.

The action has not been announced officially, but was included on Monday in the Federal Register, the unofficial daily publication for US government rules and notices. In the notice, the state department described the group as part of al-Qaida in Iraq.




Stomach bug hits Vancouver retirement home

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A stomach bug has stricken at least 20 people of the Van Mall Retirement home in Vancouver.

General Manager Bill Hess says gastroenteritis has sickened 10 to 12 employees and 10 residents, including two who were sent to a hospital.

The Clark County health officer, Dr. Alan Melnick, says the home has implemented health department recommendations.

They include admitting no new residents, canceling group dining and activities, and frequent cleaning of common areas with bleach.

The home has 205 residents. They are being served meals in their rooms.




Health officials warn of highly-contagious stomach bug

There have been six confirmed cases of the Norovirus so far.

Branson, Mo. — The Taney County Health Department issued a warning last week that a highly-contagious stomach bug is being passed from person-to-person. Epidemiologists confirmed six cases of the Norovirus so far. The stomach bug causes both vomitting and diarrhea and can last up to three days.

“Typically if you see six cases confirmed that does mean there are others in the community,” said Doctor Cassandra Ashley, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at Skaggs Hospital in Branson.

“The concern is that it could start spreading like wildfire, because this virus in highly contagious,” Ashley said.

According to the Branson Chamber of Commerce, 7 million tourists visit Branson each year. Many of them travel from hundreds of miles away, presenting a unique challenge for preventing disease.

“Of course it would ruin our vacation, said Mark Horn of Plainfield, Indiana.

Horn and his family traveled to Branson to celebrate the holidays the week after Thanksgiving.

“We’re all here together, so it (the virus) could hit 12 people real quick,” Horn said.

The hearty virus can easily spread from person-to-person and through contact with shared surfaces. Taney County Health Department workers said that is what prompted them to alert local businesses.

“With people doing bus activities, eating, touring in big groups, if one person became infected, it could spread throughout that group which could spread throughout the community,” Ashley said.

Health professionals are doing their part to keep that from happening while relying relying on tourists and locals to do the same.

“Hopefully we’re at the tail end and not the beginning of something here,” Ashley said.

The virus can live on shopping carts, door knobs, sinks, and other surfaces. Hand washing is the number one way to prevent it. Doctors also advise wiping surfaces down with bleach.




The gift that keeps on giving

Was it guilt that kept me on the phone as the inhuman noises roared through my headset?

Could be. After all, John’s family had traveled all the way from Texas to share the holidays – and I refused to visit.

There was good reason. A vicious stomach bug had felled every family member a day or two before they boarded their pre-Thanksgiving flight. Less than 48 hours after John kissed them all upon their arrival at Liberty Airport (well, all but his son-in-law), he was – as he was now — on his knees in his bathroom, attending the church of St. Porcelain.

“I feel much better!” he finally wheezed. “You’re coming over, aren’t you? You’ve got to see The Baby.”

By The Baby he meant his 27-month-old granddaughter, a really sweet kid who, when I last saw her, already had Grampa’s wise-guy look in her eyes.

Of course I wanted to see “Imp,” as I named her, but I also wanted to stay healthy. So it was I eschewed visiting the Petri dish better known as his home.

Unfortunately, traveling while ill seems to be the accepted norm, although the ignorance of the infected is not bliss to those about to receive.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anyone with the stomach bug better known as a norovirus is at their contagious best from the time they start showing symptoms until at least three days after their symptoms disappear. So it was John’s family had barely shed their collective germs by the time they set foot in the Garden State. How many people they endowed with their little microbe stowaways I’m not sure, but I sure didn’t care to be one of them.

That people are considerate creatures is a pleasant fiction. During this time of the year, bugs spawn epidemics, but who cares? We count the days to traveling home for the holidays or taking that vacation like prisoners their freedom. We forget that disease thrives on a plane, a train, or a kiss. We fail to consider the consequences of universal suffering, let alone demise. For many, it’s damn the vomiting and full-speed ahead.

Worse, John sounded almost grateful to have endured the familial infliction. Grampa confessed it didn’t matter he was on the verge of dehydration and a visit to the E.R. because he was reunited with his family.

I almost asked him how he would have felt if, instead of a stomach bug, they had feted him with avian flu, SARS, or ebola, then reconsidered. The ties that bind are the ties that blind. The answer would have been the same.

As for myself? I’d prefer to watch a movie like “Contagion,” not find myself an accidental extra in the real-life version.

So here’s what I suggest: If you’re sick this season, stay home and connect on Facebook. After all, there’s no better way to let your love go viral.




Stomach virus sickens students at Douglas elementary

A Douglas County elementary school worked to contain a stomach virus that sickened more than 100 students this week.

Custodians have been working hard to sanitize South Douglas Elementary School, Principal Casey Duffey told Channel 2 Action News. The school is also trying to make sure students practice good hygiene, such as washing their hands often.

By Thursday, only one ill child had left school, Duffy said. That was a far cry from earlier in the week when a number of students were stricken.
“I’m sure it was over one hundred,” Duffey said, “and that includes the ones we sent home yesterday.”

Some parents kept their children home Thursday after South Douglas Elementary sent home a letter Wednesday alerting them to the stomach bug, Channel 2 said. Rebecca Farmer said her daughter came down with the virus Tuesday.

“She said she felt sick and sure enough she started getting sick, and it pretty much lasted throughout the whole
day,” Farmer said. But by Wednesday, her daughter felt better, she told Channel 2.

The school system nurse came out and helped take temperatures, the principal said. “We just worked with students and parents, and parents were very good to come up here and get students throughout the day as we needed them to,” Duffey said.

The Douglas County health department told Channel 2 that a two- to three-day virus struck the school, and that it should be over by Monday.




Know the symptoms of food-borne illness

With all the recent news of food-borne illnesses across the nation, it is a good idea to know the symptoms of such illnesses. If we know the symptoms, we can act quickly to get appropriate medical attention. This in turn can save lives, sick days and medical bills.

Often, when we are sick with food-borne illness, we mistake it for the flu or a stomach bug. And, if we are otherwise healthy, our bodies will eventually fight off the illness and we make full recoveries. Many of us may not even seek medical attention after consuming contaminated food and getting sick.

However, for those with delicate or weakened immune systems, food-borne illness can be devastating. Babies, young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk for food-borne illness, as these individuals cannot fight off a consumed germ as well as the general population.

With the high number of reported E. coli and salmonella outbreaks lately, stemming from everything from peanuts and smoked salmon to concerns about contamination of foods at a state fair, we must act as vigilant consumers to protect ourselves as best we can from tainted food. Unfortunately though, it cannot always be prevented, as food recalls are often only issued after people get sick and the contaminants are traced back to a particular food.

What we can do is always cook food to proper internal temperatures, ensure food is held at proper holding temperatures (generally no longer than 2 hours in the temperature danger zone of 40-140 degrees for perishables); follow proper hand-washing techniques, especially when preparing and before eating food; wash cutting boards and utensils properly; and prevent cross-contamination between uncooked foods like raw meats/poultry/seafood/eggs and ready-to-eat foods like fruits and vegetables. Do not prepare food for others if you already have diarrhea or vomiting and avoid eating high-risk foods, especially by those high risk individuals mentioned above.

Additionally, if we know the symptoms of some of the more common food-borne illnesses, we can seek medical attention more appropriately. The top five food-borne illnesses are listed below, in addition to E. coli infection.

» Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis (stomach bug) in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it causes about 21 million illnesses yearly. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. It can also cause fever, body aches and headache. Symptoms typically go away after 1-3 days.

» Salmonellosis is the next most common food-borne illness in the nation. When someone has an infection with Salmonella bacteria, they usually have diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after infection and symptoms usually last 4-7 days.

» Clostridium perfringens bacteria causes about 1 million cases of food-borne illness yearly. Symptoms include watery diarrhea and stomach cramps usually 8-12 hours after infection. Symptoms usually last up to 24 hours and do not include fever or vomiting.

» Staph infections from Staphylococcus aureus bacteria can cause symptoms relatively fast — in about 30 minutes after consuming contaminated food and usually within 1-6 hours after consumption. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps are common symptoms.

» Campylobacter infection can cause diarrhea, stomach cramping and pain, fever and sometimes vomiting within 2-5 days of exposure. Symptoms usually last about a week. It is estimated to affect 2.4 million people yearly.

» E. coli infections can vary based on the type of E. coli bacteria, but often cause severe stomach cramps, often bloody diarrhea, vomiting and occasionally a low-grade fever. Symptoms usually last 5-7 days.

For more information on food-borne illness, including the foods more commonly harboring the above bacteria, visit the CDC’s website on food safety at




Nevada – Washoe School District Warns Parents of Stomach Bug

The Washoe County School District is warning parents about a stomach bug that has affected four area schools.

Dr. Randall Todd with the Washoe County Health District said the virus is highly contagious and could keep a child out of school for more than a week.

“This is actually a gastrointestinal illness. It’s behaving like a virus type of illness, but we are not totally sure what virus it is. We have gotten some lab work back that suggests maybe Norovirus, which is very common. However, we have actually gotten a lot of negative labs back,”

Todd said because of the uncertainty, they have asked the Center for Disease Control to step in and help identify what it is.

He said symptoms include, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.

A spokeswoman with the District’s Student Health Services said the Washoe County Health District asked them to call parents district wide about the illness.

WCSD says the four unidentified elementary schools have seen a high number of children and staff with the stomach bug and that extra precautions have been taken to help stop the spread of the illness.

Parents at the schools affected have already received Connect Ed calls, telling them to keep sick kids home for 72 hours. All other parents at all other schools should observe the usual 24-hour stay-at-home rules.

“We just want to heighten awareness on the part of all parents to keep their sick child home, especially for stomach symptoms,” said Dana Balchunas, the director of student health services for the Washoe County School District. “We encourage hand washing and help us keeps kids healthy and attending school.”