114 Marion County students absent after norovirus hits school

Outbreak plagues East Marion Elementary School

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MARION COUNTY, Fla. - For East Marion Elementary School, the battle against the spreading of the norovirus is slowly starting to show, as Marion County Schools reported 114 kids were absent or sent home Monday with symptoms -- down from more than 200 last week.

Principal Rusty Corley said the numbers were a great improvement from the 211 reported absent or sent home on Friday.

The norovirus, commonly linked to cruise ship outbreaks, was confirmed to be the cause days after the Florida Department of Health in Marion County was in called in when many students were sent home on Oct. 3.

This past weekend all surfaces and carpets were cleaned by the School District, along with fogger-type decontamination devices used to clean the air conditioner vents .

The number of absentees peaked on Oct. 4 when there were 280, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of the school's population.

Corley has urged parents to remain vigilant due to the fact that the norovirus can be caught more than once.

Health officials said residents should be aware for symptoms, which last typically only 24 to 48 hours, of the illness and take precautions, like frequent hand-washing, and to wait 24 hours after the last symptom to send their children back to school.

Other noted symptoms by health officials include: nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramping, low-grade fever, headaches, chills and an overall rundown feeling.

Corley and health officials believe that with the declining number, parents and students are taking the necessary precautions and steps to help contain the spread of the norovirus.

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