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Jul 24

Sickend Scottsdale Students, Teachers Likely Victims of Norovirus

The Arizona Republic | May 19, 2004
by Kerry Fehr-Snyder, The Arizona Republic

Health officials suspect the stomach virus that has sickened hundreds of Scottsdale students is the same pathogen that made passengers aboard cruise ships ill in recent years. The norovirus, originally named the Norwalk virus after it was identified in 1972 in Norwalk, Ohio, was responsible for the death of a teenage boy who contracted the virus at a Phoenix golf course two years ago.

It generally makes individuals vomit and have diarrhea for one to two days. On Friday, the stomach virus kept 211 students out of Laguna Elementary School in Scottsdale. On Monday, 140 students stayed home, and Tuesday 50 students were out sick with the same symptoms. Epidemiologists are zeroing in on the norovirus because "it's a very easy organism to pass person to person," said Graham Biggs, a foodborne epidemiologist for the Arizona Department of Health Services. The department is collecting samples to identify the virus.

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