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Santa Monica Students Suffer Possible Norovirus Outbreak After Trip To Yosemite

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Parents in Santa Monica have been warned about a possible norovirus outbreak, which may have come about after a class trip to Yosemite. John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica was closed Friday for cleaning, according to City News Service. Recently, 190 7th graders and several teacher and parent chaperones attended a five-day trip to Yosemite National Park. Several students who went on the trip began falling ill with a gastrointestinal malady during the trip, and it's possible that students form several other school districts could be affected as well, according to a release from the Santa Monica-Malibu United School District:

The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority and we are working closely with Los Angeles Department of Public Health (LADPH) to institute control measures in order to help prevent the spread of this illness. LADPH is investigating and currently believes that this originated in Yosemite, potentially exposing students from dozens of school districts

The students returned from their trip on Friday, January 27, but would not have gone back to campus until Monday. According to the L.A. Times, the trip was meant to get the kids "far away from any shiny screens and electronics."

Norovirus, which enjoys the colorful nickname "winter vomiting disease," is extremely contagious and can be contracted by contact with an infected person or contaminated surfaces, food or water. To prevent the spread of norovirus, surfaces have to be cleaned with bleach or a strong disinfectant, otherwise, the virus can persist for weeks at a time. Symptoms of norovirus usually last for one to three days, and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. However, people can remain contagious for two weeks after their symptoms have dissipated. In an average year, about 20 million people in the United States will contract norovirus. In November, a norovirus outbreak occurred within the dorms at USC.

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According to the National Park Service,
norovirus is one of its listed possible health issues. Guests are advised to treat any river or lake water before drinking it, either via boiling the water for three minutes, or by using a filter that will remove bacteria and protozoa then adding chlorine.