KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Klamath County Public Health (KCPH) officials are aware that a number of students within Klamath County are experiencing a gastrointestinal viral infection, such as norovirus or enterovirus.

“KCPH is investigating the situation,” said Director Jennifer Little. “The symptoms reported are consistent with both norovirus and enterovirus infections.  Parents and caregivers are advised to keep children home from school if they are showing any signs and/or symptoms of a gastrointestinal virus, and keep them home for 48 hours after their symptoms are gone. Gastrointestinal viruses are still contagious for up to 48 hours even after symptoms have subsided.”

She continued: “The spread of norovirus can be prevented by staying home when sick, washing hands often, particularly after using the restroom, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces with a bleach-based cleaner and washing contaminated clothing or linens immediately.”

KCPH officials want the community to know, although norovirus and enterovirus are commonly referred to as the “stomach flu”, it is not to be confused with the Influenza “Flu” virus, which is a respiratory infection that can be prevented by getting an annual influenza “flu” vaccine.

What is a norovirus and enterovirus? 

  • A common, highly contagious infection causing vomiting and/or diarrhea.
  • This virus is spread through food, water, or close contact with infected people and contaminated surfaces.
  • Illness usually occurs 1 to 3 days after being exposed.
  • Exposed persons are contagious for approximately 48 hours before experiencing symptoms.
  • Infected individuals are contagious for up to 48 hours after symptoms resolve.

Symptoms include:  Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea, and some stomach cramping.  Some people may experience a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, sore throat and a general sense of tiredness. The illness is usually brief, with symptoms lasting approximately 1 to 2 days.

How serious is norovirus and enterovirus?

Norovirus infection is usually not serious, although people may feel very sick and vomit several times a day. Most individuals get better within 1 or 2 days. However, some may require medical attention, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions.

If you think you have this infection, the following will help you and help prevent others from getting sick:

  • Stay home and rest for at least 48 hours after symptoms have resolved.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Clear fluids and popsicles are recommended to help prevent dehydration.
  • Wash hand frequently with soap; rub hands together vigorously for at least one-minute before rinsing.
  • Wash hands after using the bathroom, cleaning, changing diapers, or before eating or preparing food.
  • Disinfect household surfaces with a bleach solution (1-part bleach mixed with 8 parts water) or another approved norovirus cleaner to prevent further transmission.
  • Call your health provider if your symptoms last longer than 3 days, you have bloody diarrhea, or a fever greater than 100.5, or signs of dehydration.
  • Isolate infected individuals from other family members until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.

If you have additional questions or concerns, contact KCPH at 541-882-8846.