That word came Friday afternoon from St. Joseph County Health Officer Dr. Thomas A. Felger.
29 of the students were treated and released from local emergency departments after suffering the illness.
It’s a summer camp 13-year-old Chicago friends Elaine Johnson and Maeve Sheehan will always remember.
“I just kind of woke up [in the middle of the night] and started to have a sick feeling,” Johnson said. “The coaches brought us out into the hallway and every single girl had a small trash can. And everybody had a little pillow and blanket there and we were all just kind of throwing up everywhere.”
“I don’t know, I was kind of scared a little. It was weird,” Sheehan recalled.
“Everybody was puking last night,” added football camper Alex Bradt, from Chaffield, MN. Bradt did not become ill, but he noted his camp did not have enough players to create teams for a scheduled scrimmage Wednesday because so many of the teens were sick.
Felger says Norovirus is a very contagious virus and is the most common “stomach bug” in the United States. It can be spread by an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms of Norovirus usually occur 12 to 48 hours after exposure and include diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. Most people recover in 1-3 days but remain contagious (able to spread Norovirus) for up to 2 weeks after recovery.
Felger says hand washing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of Norovirus. He says wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds and be sure to wash hands after using the bathroom, after changing a diaper, after taking care of someone else who is sick and before eating or preparing/handling food.
Those who are ill should stay home, preferably at least 3 days after symptoms resolve.
Felger says the St. Joseph County Health Department will continue to work with the University of Notre Dame and the Indiana State Department of Health to gather and disseminate information.