Health

Possible Virus Outbreak Sends 100+ Westview Primary Students, Staff Home

Pictured: Westview Primary School

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C.–The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control confirms that the agency is working with the Berkeley County School District to determine the cause of a recent illness outbreak at a Goose Creek school.

On Friday, SCDHEC officials issued the following statement:

DHEC is working closely with Westview Primary School in Berkeley County to determine the cause and prevent the spreading of a recent gastrointestinal (GI) sickness that has impacted the school.  The cause of the GI outbreak is currently unknown. However, DHEC has requested stool samples for testing to help make that determination.  The department is aware that more than 100 students and staff have reported illness with GI symptoms.  Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and fever.

DHEC has provided cleaning guidelines, hand hygiene information and input for a letter from the school for distribution to parents.  To help prevent the spread of viruses, we strongly recommend everyone wash their hand frequently, especially after using the bathroom and before handling food items. Family members should use separate hand towels for two to three weeks after symptoms go away.  Another excellent way to prevent spreading of viruses is to clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces such as doorknobs, faucets and commodes.

Many parents have flooded the Goose Creek Resident Group’s Facebook page to confirm their child recently became sick while attending the school, in turn, forcing them to stay home.

“My son got hit with this Tuesday night last week. It was AWFUL!!! He’s in Kindergarten there,” Holly Breckenridge stated.

“My 4-year-old has it. He’s in headstart at Westview. It started last night at 8 p.m. and he threw up for the last time around 4 a.m. this morning. He has diarrhea and low grade fever. It came on really suddenly, fine one minute then throwing up the next,” stated Christina Stockdale.

The Berkeley County School District has released a statement regarding the illness at Westview Primary School. It reads:

District leaders and school administrators are working to address reports and support families at Westview Primary (WVP) who have children that are experiencing symptoms of a gastrointestinal illness. Our BCSD custodial team, along with a team from Disaster Care, will begin disinfecting the school building at 8 a.m Saturday morning. Additionally, we have been working closely with DHEC and have provided a letter to parents at WVP that includes information about the spread of illness, what to do if a parent or family member becomes ill and cleaning recommendations. If parents have any questions or concerns, we encourage them to use the contact information provided to them in the letter and, as always, contact their school or our district for support.

The symptoms of gastroenteritis are nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea accompanied by abdominal cramps. Some people also complain of headache, fever, chills and muscle aches. Symptoms are usually brief and last only one or two days. However, during that period, people can feel very ill and vomit, often violently and without warning, many times a day. Symptoms usually begin 24 to 48 hours after ingestion of the virus, but can appear as early as 12 hours after exposure.

Norovirus disease is usually not serious, although people may feel very sick and vomit many times a day. Most people get better within one or two days, and they have no long-term health effects related to their illness. To learn more, click here.

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Nikki Gaskins Campbell

Nikki Gaskins Campbell is an Emmy-nominated journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in broadcast journalism.
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