Canyon County

Outbreak at Nampa middle school confirmed to be caused by norovirus

An outbreak at Lone Star Middle School that led to 60 percent of the student body staying home from school has been confirmed to be caused by norovirus, according to Southwest District Health.

Nearly 500 students stayed home from school May 8 after the gastrointestinal illness hit the school. Students and staff reported symptoms of vomiting and "not feeling well," according to Allison Westfall, spokeswoman for Nampa School District.

Those symptoms and the quick spread of the sickness suggested norovirus as the culprit, said Laurie Boston, spokeswoman for Southwest District Health.

It took until Wednesday for the health district to get enough samples to test and confirm the disease was norovirus. Two stool samples came back positive for norovirus, Boston said.

The middle school has recovered from the outbreak. Attendance has returned to normal, Boston said.

Norovirus is a highly contagious disease that causes vomiting and diarrhea. It’s contracted by contact with ill people or touching contaminated surfaces. It travels through fecal material and vomit, making handwashing important, Boston said.