Image provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency shows a Norovirus (Photo courtesy of AP Graphics)
LILBURN, Ga. -- A Gwinnett County school will close after 10 percent of students come down with the stomach flu.
The Gwinnett County Health Department recommended Knight Elementary school in Lilburn close Friday due to an unusually high number of students experiencing gastroenteritis. The school has 720 students.
Thursday, more than 80 of them were absent. Many reported vomiting and diarrhea. Several more students came to school but left after falling ill with those same symptoms.
The Health Department said this kind of illness spreads very quickly in school settings, and recommended the school close until Monday morning. Knight Elementary is the only school affected.
Viral gastroenteritis is often called the "stomach flu." It can be caused by several viruses, but Norovirus is the most common.
A letter sent home to parents Thursday said the symptoms usually develop one to two days after exposure and improve within 10 days without any sort of medication. The note also asks parents to encourage their children to wash hands frequently. They warn hand sanitizers are not effective against Norovirus.
The school plans to re-open Monday, Nov. 11. Parents are being asked to keep their children home if they have symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea. They should remain home until they are symptom-free without medication for 24 hours.
In November 2012, South Douglas Elementary School was closed for three days after more than 100 students called in sick.