Fever hits N.J. school

BORDERNTOWN, N.J. - November 5, 2008 6-year-old Kylie O'Brien is one of over a hundred students at Peter Muschal School in Bordentown who've been hit with a stomach virus.

It started showing up last Friday. School officials at first thought the high number of absentees might be a case of Phillies fever, kids skipping school to go to the victory parade, but soon realized it was a different bug altogether, producing stomach aches, vomiting and diarrhea.

"It's extremely contagious and it's spread hand to mouth, person to person, oral fecal route. It's really easy to spread," Bob Gatas, the Burlington County Health Director, said.

The O'Brien family is learning the hard way about how easily this bug spreads.

"We have three total that have gotten the bug so far. It's just been pretty unpleasant. 24 hours of the kids not being able to keep anything down," Richard O' Brien said.

To stop the spread of the bug, health officials are urging kids and parents to wash their hands frequently.

"Hand washing is the best defense against this type of virus. You want to be sure you're washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water," health educator Asha Campbell said.

The school is closed for the rest of the week, not because of the illness, but already scheduled training and a teacher's convention.

The superintendent calls it perfect timing.

"Our hope is that with the school completely vacant tomorrow and Friday, that come Monday the virus will be completely eliminated from the school building with everybody home for 5 days it will run its course," Dr. Constance Bauer said.

School officials have custodians cleaning everything with bleach and are keeping their fingers crossed.

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