Viral Gastroenteritis (Stomach Bug or Stomach Flu)

    Viral gastroenteritis is an infection of the stomach and intestines often called the "stomach bug" or "stomach flu" although it is not caused by the influenza virus. Please review the symptoms below and keep your children home from school if they develop symptoms. When contacting the attendance line by phone or email to report your child’s absence, please let us know that your child has stomach flu symptoms so that we can track the number of cases in the school.  Per health department guidance, children with viral gastroenteritis should remain home at least 48 hours after their symptoms stop. Please also review prevention methods below and encourage your children to practice good hand washing at home and at school.

    CAUSATIVE AGENT: Many different viruses can cause viral gastroenteritis. The most common cause in the United States is Norovirus.

    SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS: Gastroenteritis attacks your stomach and intestines, causing signs and symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and no fever or a low grade fever. The symptoms usually last 24 to 48 hours and most people recover without complications. The young, the elderly and immune compromised individuals are at increased risk for dehydration and other complications.

    INCUBATION PERIOD:Usually 12 to 48 hours after exposure

    METHOD OF TRANSMISSION:The virus is spread by contact with an infected person who did not wash his or her hands adequately, or from objects and surfaces contaminated by diarrhea or vomit, or indirectly from food or water contaminated by stool or vomit from an infected person, or from airborne particles produced by those vomiting.

    PREVENTION: To prevent transmission of the virus, it is important to practice good hand washing, to stay home until stomach flu symptoms have stopped for 48 hours, and to frequently clean commonly touched surfaces. Wear gloves and protective clothing to avoid direct contact with infectious materials like vomit and diarrhea. Avoid people who are ill.

    For more information please contact your medical provider, your school nurse, the Marin Count Health Department or go to one of these links that have guidance for prevention and treatment of viral gastroenteritis.

    CDC Norovirus

           California Public Health


Last Modified on August 19, 2018