Dozens of students sickened as illness spreads through school

LOUISVILLE (WAVE)- Dozens of students from one JCPS school were absent Thursday, with what is believed to be the same illness. Wednesday, 66 students were absent and 46 were sent home from Dunn Elementary School in the city's East End.
Wednesday, the school sent home a letter describing the symptoms students said they had and the precautionary measures the school is taking with this illness. Thursday, out of 600 students who attend the school, 100 were absent.

"It's just unreal," Said Pam Yopp, a grandparent who does not have children at the school but lives nearby. "I can't imagine 100 children in one school so small being out today with the stomach flu."

Stomach ache, not keeping food down, and some headaches and chills were just some of the symptoms reported by students at Dunn Elementary school this week as a virus spread.

"That's pretty concerning," Said Yopp. "If I had a child there, I probably would take them out for a few days."

The school notified the health department and they are working closely together. A health department spokesperson suspects it's a Norovirus or stomach flu. Doctor Judy Theriot, An Associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics, said it's typical of viral Gastroenteritis.

"We see this all the time in little kids. It's because it's spread in what we call fecal-oral or by person-to-person contact," Said Theriot. "It is very typical and the key is good hand washing. It's not unexpected that this would happen. Because it's so common, but the key is containing it and not spreading it and washing your hands like your mom told you to."

The school and health department are working to containing the illness. Health crews monitored sanitary conditions in the school Thursday and found nothing. The school is taking precautionary measures including opening windows and quarantining ill students.

"If your child does get it, there are no medicines that can make them better," Said Theriot. "It's cause by a virus. They just have to get better on their own. The key is not to let them get dehydrated."

According to the school's principal,  the department of health said the school is in compliance will all state environmental rules. And, extra custodial staff will be sent to the school Friday for additional cleaning.

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