Lab results have confirmed a norovirus outbreak in Buncombe County, health officials announced on Tuesday.
Buncombe County Health and Human Services said the virus has affected schools in the area, causing hundreds of absences.
Last week, Dixon Elementary School reported 123 absences on Thursday and over 140 on Friday, including seven students who were sent home.
School district spokesperson Charlie Glazener said they cleaned the school after students left with a bleach compound and they will continue to do it for up to two weeks.
BCHHS said they are working with the schools that have been affected by the virus.
Officials said the virus is not only hitting schools, but also affecting the community, including elderly adults and children in child care centers.
Health officials suggested several steps to prevent the spread of the norovirus:
Stay at home if you are sick for at least 24 hours after symptoms end
Wash your hands, especially after using the toilet and before preparing foods
Hand sanitizer does not work to kill norovirus. Clean up vomit or diarrhea with a cloth and bleach cleaner or mix 1 part bleach with 10 parts water. Do not use vacuum to clean up because this can spread the virus. Never use undiluted bleach. And be sure to use a fresh bleach mix every day.
There is no treatment for the norovirus,but officials said to seek medical help if you become dehydrated from the symptoms.
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