DENVER (CBS4)– Three schools in Denver Public Schools were closed for two days, Tuesday and Wednesday, because of Norovirus. Students won’t return to class until Jan. 2017, after winter break.

Three different schools located at 1350 E. 33rd Avenue, were closed on Tuesday, Denver School of Science and Technology Cole Middle School, DSST Cole High School and the Cole Arts and Sciences Academy.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

On Friday, some students complained they were not feeling well and on Monday, 25-30 students complained of diarrhea and vomiting and those students went home for the day.

Will Jones, the spokesman for Denver Public Schools, told CBS4 the schools informed parents what was happening.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The facilities team worked overnight Monday into Tuesday scrubbing down the school.

Denver Public Health contacted DPS and said that what was being used to clean the schools was not strong enough so the schools were closed both Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday was the last day for students in DPS before the holiday break, so students will not return to class until January.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Families of students were notified directly by the school along with information about Norovirus symptoms and treatment. Some families showed up to school on Tuesday morning but were informed about what was happening in person.

Additional Resources

The following FAQs about norovirus were shared with CBS4 by Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children:

Norovirus infection occurs in the stomach and intestines. It is most often called the stomach flu. Outbreaks often occur in areas with close contact such as:
– Cruise ships
– Restaurants
– Nursing homes
– Hospitals

Causes

Norovirus infections are caused by a specific group of viruses. The viruses can spread through:

– Contaminated water supplies, such as recreational lakes, swimming pools, wells, and water stored on cruise ships
– Raw or improperly steamed shellfish, especially clams and oysters
– Food and drinks prepared by infected food handlers who do not wash their hands properly after using the bathroom
– Surfaces, such as a door knob
– The viruses can also spread by direct contact with an ill person. This is common in a day care center or nursing home.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Risk Factors

Any person who ingests the virus is at risk of getting this infection. Older children and adults commonly get this infection. Even if you have been infected with norovirus in the past, you can become ill again if:
– You are exposed to a different type of norovirus
– Your last illness was more than 24 months ago

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
– Nausea
– Vomiting
– Diarrhea
– Abdominal pain
– Headache
– Fever
– Chills
– Muscle aches
– Tiredness

Symptoms often appear within 24-48 hours of exposure to the virus. Symptoms often last about 1-3 days.

Treatment

A norovirus infection will go away on its own. Medical treatment is often not needed since the illness is often brief and mild. Most people will recover by resting and drinking plenty of fluids. Oral rehydration solutions are the best option to help replace fluids and electrolytes. These can be found in most drugstores. Severe dehydration may require IV fluids in a hospital but this is a rare complication in the United States. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. There are no antiviral medications or vaccines used to fight or prevent this infection.

Prevention

To help reduce your chances of getting or passing noroviruses, please take the following steps.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water:

– After using the bathroom
– After changing diapers
– Before preparing or eating food
– If you are caring for someone who is infected, make sure the person thoroughly washes his or her hands. If you are ill or caring for someone who is ill, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces using bleach cleaner. Remove and wash soiled linens. Use hot water and soap
– Wash fruits and vegetables
– Cook oysters and clams before eating them
– Do not prepare food if you have symptoms. The virus may continue to be in your stool for up to 3 days after your diarrhea has resolved. Wait 3 days after you have recovered before handling food again
– Throw away contaminated food
– If you are sick, do not attend work until symptoms have passed

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