Health officials looking into hundreds of sick kids in Clark County

Health officials looking into hundreds of sick kids in Clark County

Health officials in Clark County are looking into a growing number of kids getting sick with a contagious stomach virus, hundreds of kids since the beginning of May.

Custodians spent Monday night doing another deep clean at Walnut Grove Elementary school.  It’s the second time in 72 hours that every surface from desks to door jams were down wiped with disinfectant to ward off invisible germs usually found on a cruise ship.

A spokeswoman for Vancouver Public schools tells KATU News 59 kids stayed home sick on Monday.  That’s an improvement from 133 last Friday when one out of every five kids was home sick.

Laurel Clark and her two sons live across the street from Walnut Grove.
    
"They play on their playground equipment, which makes me concerned as far as picking up germs,” Clark said.

Gabe Clark, 10 and Andrew Rosenblum, 8, go to a different school in Vancouver where there Laurel said haven't been any issues.

"No notes have come home and i haven't heard of any friends or anything like that from other families,” said Clark.

Walnut Grove Elementary is the third school in Clark County to see a viral outbreak just this month.

"It's nerve-wracking and thinking that it is so far spread in different districts,” said Clark.

The Clark County Health Department shut down Columbia Valley Elementary on May 1, 2014.  The culprit: the norovirus.

KATU’s news gathering partners at The Columbian are reporting 50 kids also stayed home sick on Monday at Hockinson elementary.

The symptoms are all the same: vomiting, diarrhea, headache, chills, and mild fever.  The health department has sent a letter home to families at the three schools with a reminder about washing hands to stay healthy.

Laurel, so far, has kept Gabe and Andrew well.

"We try to do lots of fruits and vegetables, lots of water, we stay away from preservatives,” said Clark.

She also knows what to do if they get sick.

"Lots of Clorox wipes, you know, containment,” said Clark.

The Clark County Health Administrator Dr. Alan Melnick told KATU News to expect a press release Tuesday morning announcing a press conference that's set for Tuesday afternoon.  He wouldn’t give any additional information.

All schools are open on Tuesday despite the viral outbreak.