After Center school closure, public health responds to outbreak questions


VALLEY – Community members can be reassured that an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness that caused Center Consolidated School District to cancel school on Tuesday is not cause for major concern. There is no need for community members who had contact with students or who visited the school to take any special measures.

General precautions that apply on a daily basis apply here as well, according to SLV Regional Epidemiologist Ginger Stringer who has received a number of calls from concerned community members. In order to keep disease from spreading, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating or preparing food, and after using the restroom. Keep food preparation areas clean, and don’t share drinks or food. Stay home and drink plenty of fluids if you are sick. Children with vomiting or diarrhea should be kept out of school or childcare for at least 48 hours after their symptoms end.

“Center School officials made a decision based on their absentee numbers and a desire to make sure that their building was thoroughly disinfected in order to keep the illness from spreading further,” explained Stringer. “We have not confirmed the specific virus responsible for this outbreak, but gastrointestinal viruses that cause stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea are generally highly contagious and also very common this time of year.”