Washoe County Still Fighting Viruses

RENO, Nev. Two months after the norovirus and sapovirus took over Washoe County schools, health officials are still battling to contain the outbreak.

The outbreak, which started September 6, had affected more than 600 children.

Over the weekend, Washoe County Student Health Services brought in more than 20 custodial workers to deep cleaned Spanish Springs Elementary School. The hope was to get rid of any residual virus lingering around, and keep the outbreak from spreading.

"They used anti-noro sanitizer on walls on desks, on counter tops," Dana Balchunas, Director of the Washoe County Student Health Services said. "They cleaned the carpet. They really spent hours getting Spanish Springs Elementary school sanitized."

While norovirus has been responsible for similar outbreaks in Washoe County before, this is the first time sapovirus has been identified as one of the contributing causes to a gastro-intestinal illness outbreak in our community.

Health officials say they are doing what they can, but they need help from parents.

They ask parents to keep their kids home from school and outside activities for at least 24 hours, even if they just have a stomach ache.

If no other symptoms occur within that time frame they can return to school. However, if the additional symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, or fever occur, then they must be excluded from school for 72 hours (three days) after the last symptoms of nausea, stomach ache, vomiting, or diarrhea have subsided.

If a member of your family is ill, you need to sanitize your home using hot water and half a cup of bleach. You should also use a cleanser specifically designed to kill the norovirus.

"There's only a limited number of cleansers and sanitizers that kill norovirus," Balchunas said.

For a full list of cleansers, follow the link below.