Yolo County health authorities today (June 12) declared the end of a major outbreak of norovirus in local schools but urged continued vigilance against the highly contagious gastrointestinal illness.
Over a six-week period, a total of 4,266 individuals, including 139 UC Davis students, were reported to have been sickened.
The Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency reported that, with the weekly numbers for new or repeated cases declining and the regular school year ending, the outbreak in schools appears to be largely contained. At UC Davis, spring quarter classes ended June 8, and exams continue through this Thursday (June 15).
In a news release, the county cautioned that transmission may continue or shift. The agency has provided child care centers and summer camp organizers, including those at UC Davis, with guidelines for prevention of transmission — including preparation and handling of food, cleaning, and sending sick children and staff home.
“Yolo County will continue to monitor and support the school systems in their effort to prevent and respond to any suspected cases,” Ron Chapman, Yolo County public health officer, said. “People must also remain vigilant with their hand hygiene and recognize the signs and symptoms of norovirus.”
The county news release notes that proper hand hygiene can help prevent the spread of norovirus. Healthy practices include washing hands with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers, and always before eating, preparing or handling food.
Norovirus is marked by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. It can last for one to three days, and there are no antibiotics with which to treat it.
Cindy Schorzman, medical director of student health services at UC Davis, said students with symptoms have been advised to:
- Stay home until symptoms are gone for 48 hours.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Seek immediate medical care if symptoms worsen such that they become weak or unable to drink fluids.
Chapman said staying home 48 hours after symptoms are gone is key because the virus continues to replicate in the body even after symptoms end.
A county website offers information about symptoms, treatment and more tips for prevention of norovirus.