Unknown illness strikes elementary school

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - An illness has left dozens of children at one Northwest Bakersfield school sick. Public health officials are looking for answers, and one parent says she's very concerned.

Monica Miller's son, Parker, stayed home from school today with flu-like symptoms. He is one of the over 30 children affected with this sickness that includes vomiting and diarrhea.

"He threw up twice on the way home. brought him home and he literally threw up from 2:15 to about 8 o'clock last night when he finally when to sleep," Miller said.

According to Kern County Public Health, the elementary school noticed a number of students with common symptoms yesterday. After more students fell ill this morning, they made a report to Public Health. County Public Health officials say this may be a norovirus that can affect the community during the winter months of the year. But, officials say quick action from the school could have stopped the sickness from spreading.

"They've pulled in additional custodians to start the cleaning process," Public Health Director Matt Constantine said. "We've advised the school on how best to do that."

The county department says that dehydration is the main concern with these types of illnesses, but with enough rest, children can recuperate on their own.

"It's not uncommon, and in most cases, it's self limiting," Constantine said. "With time and care at home a child will become better over time."

County Public Health says there is no diagnosis at this time, but you can help prevent the spread of this illness with good hygiene, like washing your hands with soap, disinfecting commonly touched items like doorknobs and light switches and cleaning areas where someone has vomited.


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