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OAK PARK, Calif. (KTLA) -- Dozens of students and staff at Medea Creek Middle School in Oak Park have been sickened by a highly contagious virus.

The Ventura County Health Department says that norovirus is to blame. It can cause stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

The department became aware of the outbreak when the school reported an unusually high number of absences on Oct. 11, 12 and 15.

Samples from affected students tested positive for the virus, health officials said.

A professional cleaning crew was brought in on Monday to do a scrub down at the school, the Ventura County Star reports.

The virus can be transmitted from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces.

Most people who contract the virus get better in about three days.

According to the CDC, hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of norovirus.

School administrators say that anyone feeling sick should stay home for 48 hours after symptoms clear.