'Like the Apocalypse': Parents Demand Answers After 130 Elementary Students Simultaneously Vomit Uncontrollably
In a horror movie scene you can almost smell, a gastrointestinal bug has rocked — and confused — a Las Vegas community via copious amounts of bile and vomit.
According to a report from KLAS-TV, parents of multiple students who attend Wayne N. Tanaka Elementary in Las Vegas are demanding answers after an inexplicable stomach bug swept through the school Monday.
An unnamed source told the station that “roughly 130 students were simultaneously vomiting.”
“Our student’s teacher told us that it was like the apocalypse,” Dan Farrow, whose child is a student at Tanaka Elementary, told KLAS.
“A teacher said it was like Armageddon. Our daughter said there were trash cans lined up and kids just throwing up everywhere,” Danielle Farrow, the student’s mother, added.
Adding to those wild visuals was a follow-up report from KLAS, that said children were experiencing “projectile vomiting.”
One mother, who went by “Joyce” to preserve her anonymity, told the station her daughter was fine after returning from school after the initial outbreak.
“It wasn’t until overnight when she was sleeping that she started having a stomach ache, and then she threw up about five to six times overnight,” she said during a phone interview.
Joyce, echoing a common working theory among parents, speculated that contaminated food from the cafeteria was the cause of the mass vomiting, while also clamoring for more transparency and answers.
“I don’t know if they have all the information present as to what happened, but I wish that we did have more constant updates as to what’s going on,” she said. “At the end of the day, we don’t know what’s going on. We don’t know how to help them. I mean, if kids are a priority, then we need to know what’s going on so we can help our children.”
According to the school’s Facebook page, it serves children from pre-kindergarten all the way to the fifth grade.
There is no mention of the stomach bug issue on the school’s Facebook page, though the majority of the posts on it are of created events (such as PTO meetings).
The school’s principal reached out to parents with a letter, according to KLAS, though, as Joyce alluded to above, it was not exactly what parents were looking for.
“Dear Tanaka Parents/Guardians, As always, we want to keep you informed of important issues happening within our school community,” Principal Tony Davis wrote in his email.
“The Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) is investigating the cause of the gastrointestinal illnesses reported by several of the students at Tanaka,” he said. “We are currently working with the Clark County School District Health Services Department and SNHD on implementing measures to prevent further illness.
“Gastrointestinal viruses are common and easily spread from person-to-person. Symptoms usually develop 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to the virus. Most people will get better within one to three days without medical treatment. Young children, older adults, and people with other medical conditions may be at higher risk for complications, such as dehydration. The most common symptoms include nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Additional symptoms may include fever, headache, and body aches.
“Regular and appropriate handwashing is one of the most effective prevention methods for reducing the spread of gastrointestinal illness and other illnesses. People who are ill, or caring for someone who is ill, should wash their hands carefully with soap and water before, during, and after preparing food. Sick people should not prepare food or care for others. Hands should be dried with disposable paper towels. Hands should always be washed after using the toilet, changing diapers, or washing soiled clothes or bedding.
“It is important to incorporate routine, proper hand hygiene to reduce the spread of illness. Persons who are experiencing symptoms of gastrointestinal illness should stay home from school for 48 hours after symptoms have stopped. Seek care from your licensed health care provider if symptoms persist.
“Hard, non-porous surfaces that have been contaminated by an ill person should be cleaned and then disinfected immediately with a chlorine bleach solution made by adding 5-25 tablespoons of household bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite) to one gallon of water. For more information regarding common gastrointestinal illness, please contact your health care provider or the SNHD office of Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance.”
The aforementioned Southern Nevada Health District did not provide a robust follow-up when KLAS reached out for a comment.
“We are aware of reports of children getting ill and are working with the school to investigate the matter,” a representative said.
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