Health Department investigating after 100 students get sick at Antioch Elementary

There were only 30 students absent from Antioch Elementary school Monday after 100 students became sick last week. The building was cleaned over the weekend.

The school says they don't know if all the absences were due to the illness.

Union County school officials say that the Health Department began investigating Antioch Elementary School after students became sick Thursday.

The health department sent a letter to parents about the illness.

The school says the maintenance staff will conduct an additional cleaning over the weekend.

9 year old Annabella Bernard, a 4th grader, got sick. She describes her symptoms. She said, "I thought I was dehydrated at first because my stomach was hurting, so I got a lot of water, and that didn’t actually help because after dance, then I threw up a bunch, and all night I threw up probably 8 or 9 times.”

A spokesperson for the school said many students are out of school Friday, but not all are absent due to the illness. Parent Ashley Bhargava said, "A lot of my friends just kept their kids home, so that they wouldn’t get it, so I don’t think the number that’s out reflects how many have it."

The health department is asking parents whose children have had symptoms related to the illness to complete a survey.

The school says if your child is vomiting or has diarrhea/and or fever to consult a doctor and remain away from school until they are free from symptoms for 48 hours.

On Thursday students complained of vomiting and stomach pains, according to school authorities.

Emergency services in the county said that no students had to be transported from the Matthews school to local hospitals.

Some students stayed home and other were picked up from school early by their parents, according to the school.

The school's principal, Dr. Jamie Benfield, sent the following email to families at the school about the situation:

'Good afternoon parents, this is Dr. Benfield with an important message. As your principal, I want to make sure you have accurate information about what’s happening at our school. I am calling to let you know that approximately 100 students are ill. Parents are reporting that students are vomiting and have stomach pains. The Union County Health Department has been contacted. In addition, school nurses and county health staff members were at our school today to assess the situation and take test samples. At this time, we have not received an official report from the Union County Health Department.

We are taking this matter very seriously and I will continue to communicate updates in a timely manner. If your child is sick, please consult a doctor. Also, please remind your child to wash their hands carefully with soap and water on a regular basis. Please be mindful that the health department may contact parents about this matter.

Thank you for your cooperation.'

The health department is taking samples, which will be sent to a state lab. Officials hope to identify the specific illness sometime next week.

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