Stomach Flu Outbreak Forces SF School To Close Wednesday

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — Saint Ignatius College Preparatory will be closed Wednesday for cleaning after nearly 200 students came down with the stomach flu.

Around 150 students were sent home Tuesday from the school after they became ill with gastroenteritis, according to Principal Patrick Ruff. 50 students also called in sick Tuesday.

“You would walk by the dean’s office and there would be kids just lined up to go home,” said student Charlie Goldensohn.

According to parents, a player on the girls’ basketball team became sick during a game Tuesday night.

“With the number of students about 200, we thought it was wise to close the school so we can do a through and deep cleaning of all the surfaces,” Ruff said.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

Brent McDonald, who has two children attending St. Ignatius, said his whole family caught the bug and thinks he might be next.

“I’ve eaten once today, and I feel like I’ve got a knot in my stomach,” McDonald said. “I’ve had two half bowls of rice.”

School will resume on Thursday February 2nd.

According to the San Francisco Department of Public Health and school officials, the bug typically lasts 24 hours. A statement on the school’s website advised parents to keep children with symptoms at home for at least 72 hours after vomiting or diarrhea has ceased or their fever has abated.

The origin of the outbreak is under investigation, but food from the school cafeteria has been ruled out as a cause.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • jack

    The flu is a viral infection of the respiratory tract. There is no such thing as “the stomach flu”. Who writes this stuff?

    • Laura

      Stomach flu is a common, more recognizable way of saying gastroenteritis. The students aren’t suffering from respiratory illness, they’re suffering from a gastrointestinal virus of some sort. What the report doesn’t mention is that students were vomiting everywhere, without warning: on the stairs, on the track, and in literally every single bathroom stall.

  • John

    Jack, you are correct that there is no such thing as stomach flu. Most of the so called stomach flu is due to food poisoning! I would suggest the experts claiming stomach flu panic look into what these children ate. Since so many came down with the problem at school, look at the school lunch garbage being fed to them.

    • Michael M

      How can you call the school lunch garbage if you’ve never eaten it? SI has a state-of-the-art kitchen with professional chefs cooking fresh food.

    • Laura

      Stomach flu is just a common, more recognized way of saying gastroenteritis. The mass vomiting began before lunch, and continued long after students went home. They’re experiencing fevers, chills, dizziness and spontaneous vomiting, not food-induced nausea.

  • dave

    A lot of these kids bring their lunch. Norovirus is much more likely. It’s highly contagious and it started last week with a few kids.

    That’s jumping to a conclusion to characterize SI’s cafeteria food as garbage.

  • Joseph

    For those blaming SI’s food, I’ll have you know that I’m a student there, and I saw vomit in the bathrooms long before lunch time. And way more than 200 people get lunch from the cafeteria everyday, so if it was the food, the outbreak would be much more severe.

    • Michael M

      I agree! SI’s cafeteria is outstanding! Definitely not what one would imagine a “typical” school lunch to be.

  • Kirby Carmichael

    Norovirus, people. It was in several senior centers in Marin this winter, and St. Ignatius would be advised to keep itself closed for a week, so that the exposed kids get sick and over their bout before they come back.

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  • James Oliver

    Them damn kids will do anything to get out of school.Hey school boars and admin I want an investagition.PS I hope to kids all get better quick I know what it feels like

  • s.f. peaches

    Let’s hope the Health Dept. is looking into this. We shouldn’t speculate too much on exactly where this illness started, but if it was foodborne the students should recall where they have eaten together on and off campus. Some restaurants fill up with kids after school lets out.

    As for the norovirus theory, that’s something else the Health Dept. should consider.

    I have heard about a nasty seasonal virus which is highly contagious. Entire families come down with it, one person after another. That might be it.

    At any rate, have good thoughts for those kids who had to go throught that trauma.

  • Tree

    Peppermint tea will help calm the symptoms,once you can keep anything down.

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