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Jul 24

2nd Widespread Illness This Year Hits Laguna Elementary School

The Arizona Republic | July 22, 2004 by Anne Ryman, The Arizona Republic

A second widespread illness has hit Laguna Elementary School this year, but school district officials say it appears unrelated to a stomach virus that swept the school in May.

Late last month, school officials received reports that as many as 20 Girl Scouts who attended a summer camp reported nausea and fever.

Scottsdale Unified School District officials are working with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to determine a cause.

"It appears to be a bad coincidence," district spokesman Tom Herrmann said. He added that the school building is "absolutely safe," and school will begin as planned Aug. 10.

Doug Hauth, public information officer for the county Department of Public Health, said the county took samples and forwarded them to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. They are awaiting results.

"We have no idea what we're looking at this time," he said. "We've only had one official report of illness. We do know there were others."

The Scottsdale school near 104th Street and Shea Boulevard was plagued in May by a highly contagious stomach virus. At its height more than 200 pupils, 25 percent of the student body, were out of school.

Symptoms lasted a few days and included nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. That virus was determined to be in the norovirus family, a group of viruses that cause stomach flu.

The infection is spread by food or drink contaminated with the virus, touching surfaces or having contact with someone who is infected.

In the latest incident, Herrmann said a girl reported similar symptoms, except this time she had a fever. She has since recovered.

Herrmann said staff cleaned and sanitized the school after the May outbreak, and the buildings have been cleaned again.

He said other groups meeting at the school over the summer have not reported any illnesses.

Reach the reporter at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (602) 444-6881.

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