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Published: Friday, 10/12/2007

Gibsonburg illnesses may be a norovirus

GIBSONBURG, Ohio The gastrointestinal illness that sickened 33 Gibsonburg School District employees and prompted school closures this week appears to be a norovirus, which causes so-called stomach flu and spreads easily in enclosed spaces, officials said.

Schools will be closed again today but are expected to reopen Monday, said Tom Peiffer, superintendent.

We think we re on the mend out here, and Monday s the day, he said.

Mr. Peiffer said some of those sickened including himself are recovering from the illness which possibly was spread during an employee in-service day Monday.

It will be next week before the Ohio Department of Health will have laboratory results from biological samples taken by the county health department, said David Pollick, Sandusky County health commissioner.

We think it s a norovirus, but we re not sure, he said.

About half of the elementary school s 50 teachers and staff, who were using a board room on Monday, were affected by the illness, Mr. Peiffer said. An additional 10 or so affected employees work in the middle and high schools, he said.

The elementary school first was closed Wednesday, when teachers and staff started to become sick.

All three of the schools in the district were shut down yesterday.

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