'Wicked gastrointestinal virus' infects Vegas children - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

'Wicked gastrointestinal virus' infects Vegas children

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A healthcare worker wears a mask at a Las Vegas-area clinic Jan. 14, 2014. (Tiffany Murphy/FOX5) A healthcare worker wears a mask at a Las Vegas-area clinic Jan. 14, 2014. (Tiffany Murphy/FOX5)

Dozens of kids got sick because of a virus going around schools in the Las Vegas Valley.

Some of those schools' staff decided to fight back.

Staff members at Somerset Academy in North Las Vegas said they take the safety of their children seriously. Principal Jenyan Martinez sent out a letter to parents calling it some sort of "wicked gastrointestinal virus." She said they were now performing a "deep clean" twice a day in order to disinfect the campus.

"No fever. No rashes. Vomiting and diarrhea is what we're getting," she said. "It's not fun for anyone, especially the kiddos with symptoms."

Martinez said the school upgraded its cleaning products to ensure even the toughest viruses can hopefully be killed. The school is also providing parents and teachers with recommended products to keep things safe.

Dozens of students have been sent home. Martinez said she doesn't want the children to return until they have been symptom-free for at least 24 hours.

"We've notified via our Facebook page, our instant messaging program called Remind, our web page, mass emails to every single family and printed letters that were sent home," Martinez said.

Somerset Academy staff worked with the health department to get a handle on the virus. Doctors weren't able to determine what kind of illness is spreading, and they are asking infected students to volunteer a stool sample for testing purposes.

Martinez said she knows her school isn't the only one affected, but she's tackling it the most aggressively. A spokesperson for the Clark County School District said district staff is unaware of any sort of virus spreading at its schools.

"I don't know what their policies and procedures are. I just know that I don't play around with illnesses and I want the specialists involved as soon as possible," Martinez said. "Potentially closing the school may have to be a step we take ... We truly love our kids and we will always do everything first to keep them safe."

The principal said on Tuesday that the school isn't in any danger of closing, but they will follow recommendations from the health department. In the meantime, administrators asked students to please avoid touching each other, touching doorknobs and sharing food.

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