Update: Reports of possible food poisoning in Victor School District

Posted at: 05/06/2013 12:48 PM
Updated at: 05/06/2013 5:41 PM
By: Ray Levato

Students are becoming sick in Victor and some parents are raising the possibility of food poisoning at the high school.

Despite parents' concerns, The Ontario County Health Department says it's more likely that students are suffering from a norovirus. Norovirus is a virus that causes symptoms similar to food poisoning.

The Victor School District and the Ontario County Health Department say they have five reports from parents over the weekend that their kids were sick. There were probably more cases Monday as more kids were absent than normal, but there's no firm number yet.

News10NBC spoke with a parent in Victor, whose 17-year-old son, a senior, came down sick Friday night.

Stephanie Years said, “He was probably throwing up a couple of hours, vomiting obviously, but he was sick most of the night with stomach pain. I was up with him from ten o'clock to three a.m. It was bad. He couldn't hold water down or anything, so.”

The Ontario County Health Department says they have not had any confirmed reports of food poisoning, which has similar symptoms. Samples were taken at doctor's offices. But the results of lab tests will take several days to come back.

News10NBC spoke with a couple of high school students off-campus and they said they had not heard anything about it.

County health officials are working with the state health department and according to protocol, they will talk with cafeteria employees, but will not perform tests at the Victor High School food service at this time, which they say can be costly.

Mary Beer, Ontario County Public Health Director, said, “Today, we did learn there are many more that are being reported and the absenteeism rate is up. We're getting reports of different kind of symptoms, so we really don't know that at this time. That's why we're doing an investigation to see if there are some common threads across all students. We are talking with students and the New York State Department of Health out of the Geneva office is going to be performing those.”

News10NBC also heard from one mother in the Fairport School District whose child is ill with these symptoms. A spokeswoman from the school district says a survey of their school nurses shows this illness is present in some schools, but not others. She said it's not showing up in enough numbers to cause concern in Fairport.

Health officials say the norovirus spreads through touch. You should be sure to clean hard surfaces in your home, such as bathroom and kitchen counters. If your child is sick, keep them home so they aren't spreading it and make sure they stay hydrated. Any parents with concerns, should call their child's doctor.

On Monday, a district spokesperson told News10NBC, “The Ontario County Health Department was contacted over the weekend regarding Victor High Schools students exhibiting GI symptoms. This morning additional reports have been received and the NYS Department of Health and the Ontario County Public Health Department, in conjunction with the Victor School District, are working together to investigate the cause of the illness. We anticipate that this investigation will take several days. Most students are reporting symptoms lasting less than 48 hours. Parents are encouraged to keep their child home if they are experiencing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea with or without fever.  Recommendations include good hand washing and the cleaning of hard surface such as bathrooms and kitchens. It is important to keep the child well hydrated and contact your pediatrician for further guidance.”