By Lemor Abrams

SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) – Shannon Callahan said the students fell ill like dominoes.

“One after another in just the few minutes I was here,” she said.

Dozens of children and some staff at her son’s school got sick with stomach-flu like symptoms, later discovered to be Norovirus.

It’s an illness so contagious, it spread from Elverta Elementary to Alpha Charter School, forcing a quick shut down.

“Everyone was getting sick at school,” her son said.

Her son didn’t catch the nasty virus, but was sent home anyway along with his siblings at two nearby middle schools.

All three Elverta campuses are now empty; no one’s allowed on, except the parents leaving with their sick kids, and maintenance crews scrubbing and sanitizing from top to bottom.

The district superintendent issued parents a letter, warning:

  • Don’t bring kids to school Friday
  • Have your child stay home if they’ve had symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, or fever, until 48 hours after symptoms have resolved

“They’re doing what they can to protect the kids and staff and all of us at home,” said Callahan.

The schools are working with the Sacramento County Health Department to make sure they control the virus. But what caused it remains under investigation.

“We’re collecting information from people ill about symptoms, what they’ve eaten, and also we will collect specimen,” said nurse Kate Mcauley.

Health officials say the Norovirus inflames the stomach or intestines, and is highly infectious, spread from person to person.

“For more people it’s something to get over and return to normal activities,” said Mcauley.

About 20 million people get it each year. But there’s no vaccine to prevent it. So Callahan forces her kids to wash their hands throughout the day.

Her mantra, it’ll pass.

“It’s a virus, ya know?” she said.


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