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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

Mysterious Illness Outbreak at Racine Middle Schoo

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Loribearme View Drop Down
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    Posted: November 01 2007 at 4:34am
    http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/10931721.html

By Chris Lato

Story Created: Nov 1, 2007

Story Updated: Nov 1, 2007

About 90 Racine school district students became ill Wednesday, forcing the district to cancel classes at three schools Thursday.

Students at Starbuck, Mitchell and Gilmore middle schools started throwing up - at least 60 kids at Starbuck alone developed the flu-like symptoms.

As a precaution, and in consultation with the City Health Department, Racine Unified has decided to close Starbuck, along with Mitchell Middle and Elementary schools for the day. Staff will sanitize all surfaces at the schools before students can return.

Students at Gilmore Middle School will have school Thursday because only five students were sick there. The city Health Department is investigating.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Penham Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 01 2007 at 5:23am
If anyone hears any further news as to what this is, please let us know. Thanks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PrepGirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 01 2007 at 1:43pm
    I don't know what the kids in Racine have.
But I found it odd today that my Dentist was freaking out to get lysol spray and clorox wipes to clean his office. He mumbled something about MRSA. I know what MRSA is . Wonder if he got a letter about it . Seems MRSA is wide spread now.

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sorry..PrepGirl
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote quickdraw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 01 2007 at 8:18pm
    where the Hell is Racine.
Everyday is a good day and if you dont believe that try missing one.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote coyote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2007 at 8:09am
Raw Video: Three Schools Reopened Friday-Milwaukee
Tom Murray
Erin Drew Kent
Katie DeLong
Jay Olstad
Shelley Walcott

RACINE – Racine School District officials say three schools in the district will re-open Friday, after 90 students became ill Wednesday and the schools were closed Thursday.

Click on the link under related content to see a press conference from 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about what happened at Starbuck Middle School and other schools like it in Racine, but whatever happened, the company that provides the food is confident it's not their fault.

Dan Blimling is the District Manager for Chartwells, the company that provides food for the entire Racine School District. Although health officials still don't know what caused the students to throw up after lunch Wednesday, he doesn't believe it was the food.

"We're answering questions, and we're certainly hoping not. I'm confident the people out there are doing a good job. I'm not suspecting that it is,” Blimling said.

Wednesday, about 90 students from three Racine schools, most of which were from Starbuck Middle School became very ill after eating tacos.

"The fact that we had so many kids go down several hours within each other that's what causes us concern,” Racine Health Department’s Janelle Grammer said.

So Thursday, officials shut down the schools for cleaning, and after eight hours of scrubbing, they feel it's safe to reopen them for Friday classes.

"We sanitized locker rooms, door knobs, door fronts and backs, hand rails,” Andy Stefancin said.

Some parents are apprehensive about the decision to reopen the schools. Susan Seidenspinner told TMJ4's Shelley Walcott, "I think they need to pinpoint the problem." Seidenspinner says she plans to pack a lunch for her daughter, just in case.

Health officials are now in the process of interviewing the kids who got ill as well as getting stool samples in hopes of finding out what happened. They plan to have a definitive answer by next week.

A massive cleaning effort was underway at three Racine schools Thursday afternoon. The district disinfected buildings following an outbreak Wednesday that made 90 kids sick.

Starbuck Middle School, Mitchell Middle School and Mitchell Elementary School all cancelled classes Thursday.

The Health Department is interviewing students to find the common factor that led to widespread nausea. Inspectors are testing food samples from the cafeteria, as tainted food is a possible cause of the illness outbreak.

One student described what happened Wednesday.

"Everyone was sitting on the floor going 'ohh.' There was a couple people in the hallway that were throwing up, cause I saw one of the people there screaming. There was about five people there that I saw throw up," student Tyler Ottum said.



    
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