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Wintertime vomiting disease strikes 229 cheerleaders

State public health authorities have confirmed that the norovirus – also known as the bug that causes wintertime vomiting disease – sickened more than 200 attendees of a cheerleading and dance event in Everett.

Here's the press release:

Testing at the state Public Health Laboratories confirms that norovirus caused hundreds of illnesses during and after the February 4 state high school cheerleading tournament. Norovirus is typically transmitted person-to-person.

The number of people reporting they suffered vomiting and diarrhea during the event or in the days after is now 229. At least 33 have reported seeking medical care though there have been no overnight hospital admissions. The numbers are expected to grow as state health officials receive answers from surveys that were sent to participants and families.

The Washington State Department of Health is leading the disease investigation, working with local health partners and the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA), sponsor of the event in Everett.

As part of the investigation, questionnaires were sent to participants and their families and stool samples were collected for testing; results today confirmed norovirus. People who attended the event and have severe symptoms are advised to contact a health care provider. About 3,000 people attended the event and more than 1,000 competed.

Intestinal illnesses can be caused by several viruses and bacteria that may come from a wide variety of sources. Symptoms typically include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and may include headaches, stomach cramps, and fever. As with many illnesses, good personal hygiene including frequent hand washing is an important tool to prevent the spread of disease.

The Department of Health websiteis your source for a healthy dose of information. They are also on Facebook and Twitter.