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Viral Outbreak Hits Oak Park School

The intestinal virus, known as norovirus, has kept students home from Medea Creek Park since Friday.

An outbreak of an intestinal virus kept 150 children home from an Medea Creek Middle School in Oak Park on Friday and more than 90 students home Monday, but it appears to be isolated to one school, Ventura County public health officials said Monday, according to a report in the Ventura County Star.

The outbreak was identified as gastroenteritis, an intestinal infection, and can be spread by a person or anything contaminated by the virus, such as food, water, tabletops and any other object touched by an infected person, said the report.

Public health lab tests showed the gastroenteritis was caused by a common and highly contagious virus known as norovirus, said the VC Star.

"These things happen to institutions on a regular basis. In that sense, it's not unique," said Dr. Robert Levin, Ventura County public health officer, told the newspaper. "But it's significant when you look at the number of students who are out of class. These are a lot of affected students."

Public health officials said it was unclear how many of the absent students were sick and how many stayed home to avoid the illness, said the report.

According to the newspaper, the school's janitorial staff worked at washing down all surfaces at the school and a professional cleaning company was brought in Monday to scrub down other schools in the Oak Park Unified School District, said to a district staff member.

Symptoms of the virus include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and stomach pain. Some people experience fever, headache and body aches, said the report.

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