173 students sickened at Dearborn Heights Annapolis High School

Health officials suspect norovirus is to blame for sickening 173 students, 17 staff members at Dearborn Heights school

Published On: Nov 15 2012 06:54:30 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 15 2012 06:19:56 PM EST
DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. -

Students at Dearborn Heights' Annapolis High School started getting sick Wednesday morning.

The Wayne County Health Department says 173 students and 17 staff members were affected. Some became sick after arriving home.

Doctors and health officials strongly suspect this is due to a norovirus -- the same bug that sickened 28 hockey players in Taylor this past March. The virus spreads from the intestinal tract. When hands are not washed properly the virus is left on food and other surfaces.

"I was sick mostly at night. I threw up three times. It felt like I had the flu," said sophomore Teshawna Westberry.

Jill Wells, a parent at Annapolis, said the school should not have been open on Thursday. She sent her daughter to classes with gloves and hand sanitizer.

"At the end of the day (Wednesday) we decided to have our staff totally clean the building out," said Jeff Bartold, Superintendent of Dearborn Heights School District No. 7. "I’ve talked to our food service company to make sure they do extra cleaning."

Annapolis will be closed on Friday. The school district has hired a company to further sanitize the building over the next two days.

There are no reports of hospitalizations.

The Health Department was not contact until Thursday. It is running test at the school. They should be able to confirm by next week whether norovirus is to blame. Things should be back to normal by Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers advice to help prevent such a virus outbreak.