Nevada health officials hope fall break halts spread of norovirus in schools

Health officials are hoping a fall recess will help subdue a norovirus outbreak in Nevada schools that has grown at an alarming rate.

The Washoe County Health District has stopped counting the number of infections because the outbreak has quadrupled, The Reno Gazette-Journal reported.

Officials say roughly 1,760 students and staff at 20 schools and a few daycare centers are afflicted with norovirus.

The virus' symptoms include nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

County Director of Epidemiology Randall Todd says the scheduled fall break will help keep sick students out of school for the recommended 72 hours after their last symptoms.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed that fall break will give us the boost we need to put this behind us," Todd said.

He said the virus spread to a new school every few days.

"We were hopeful it wouldn't get to this point," he said.

Officials have previously said they believe the outbreak started Sept. 16 at a Reno elementary school before it spread to 11 schools.

Health officials recommend disinfecting high-traffic areas, frequently washing hands with soap and water, and staying home with symptoms as three ways to prevent the virus from spreading.