Mysterious Illness at Richardson High School Sends 100+ Students Home Sick


It’s been a rough week at Richardson High School–over the past two days more than 100 kids went home sick plus a few staff members.

So many were sick it prompted a phone message to parents and students took to Twitter with posts like

“What my nightstand looks like after being hit with the #RHSplague” and “Yep, someone just threw up in the hallway. Help us!

Richardson ISD officials are doing what they can. Executive Communications Director Candace Ahlfinger said the district contacted health officials right away.

“The health department has done its investigation and have found that its’ not related to any food or drink that was consumed at the school,” Ahlfinger said. “There is nothing in common and it’s not the flu.”

Dr. Hania Alaidroos at Arbor Green Family Clinic said she’s seen a huge number of sick kids including one she had to send to the emergency room.

“She lost 8 pounds in the last 12 hours,” Dr. Alaidroos said.

And her heart was racing dangerously. If it’s not a food borne illness or the flu then what is it?

Dr. Alaidroos has an idea.

“We’re suspecting it may be the norovirus which is the commonest form of diarrhea that goes around,” Dr. Alaidroos said. “It’s highly contagious.”

Related: What is norovirus?

Dallas County Health Director Zachary Thompson said the department is following up the Richardson investigation but finding the cause may be elusive and take time.

“It’s too early to say where this virus has been generated from or what the cause is,” Thompson said. “There are a number of follow-ups that we have to do with the students and the faculty members who are ill.”

Dr. Alaidroos said that whatever the cause parents taking care of sick kids this weekend should use good hygiene to prevent themselves from getting sick.

Kids went home this weekend with a letter to parents telling them to “keep children with symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea out of school for at least 24 hours after the symptoms have stopped.”

In the meantime custodians are disinfecting has much of the school as they can to stop the spread of whatever is making so many so sick.

“If there is something that is going to spread we want to be aware of it,” Ahlfinger said. “We want to be able to stop it.”


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