Seventh-grade students from John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica may have been exposed to Norovirus while on a field trip to Yosemite, school district officials said Thursday.
In a notice to parents and staff, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District reported that 190 students and several teachers and parents went on the five-day trip, returning Jan. 27. The students did not return to campus until Monday.
"We learned that several students showed signs of illness while still on the trip and we notified all JAMS parents on Sunday, as we worked to identify and determine the extent of the illness," according to the notice.
District officials said they are working with the county Department of Public Health, which believes the gastrointestinal illness -- which is possibly Norovirus -- originated in Yosemite and may affect students from "dozens of school districts."
Parents were urged to keep their children out of school and notify health officials if the students show any signs of infection. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever.
"The challenge with this highly contagious illness is that a child or adult may still feel well when they are contagious, making containment difficult," according to the school district notice. "We have experienced what we believe is the same illness appearing in other JAMS students who were not on the trip and we have learned, possibly spread to a few siblings attending other SMMUSD schools in Santa Monica."
District officials said the JAMS campus is being scrubbed with anti-bacterial cleaners, and the same measures will be taken at "any other classrooms and facilities where we learn of a case."
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The infection can be spread by direct contact with another infected person or eating or drinking contaminated food or liquids.