Virus Blamed For Widespread School Absences In Pender County

A contagious virus kept about 200 Pender County elementary students at home on Tuesday.

Officials believe norovirus is to blame. That's the virus linked to cruise ships.

A school system spokeswoman says about 185 students at South Topsail Elementary School were sick Monday, and 200 students out of 717 were sick Tuesday. Five staff members also called in sick on Tuesday.

Health officials urged siblings of sick students who attend other schools to wash their hands frequently and take extra precautions.

Norovirus causes low-grade fever, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches and stomach cramps. It usually ends after three days.