About 50 Lawrence High School band members in Orlando, Fla., for a performing arts competition at Disney World fell ill with a gastrointestinal illness thought to have been the norovirus.
A third of the 150 students on the 6-day trip to participate in Festival Disney ended up sick after they arrived March 14 at an Orlando hotel.
The school's assistant principal, Mark Preut, told the Lawrence Journal-World he believed the students were exposed to the virus at the hotel, where other bands also reported having sick students.
The Centers For Disease Control describes the norovirus as "a very contagious virus." It says a person can contract the virus "from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces."
Norovirus "causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed." Symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, problems that are especially serious for young children and older adults.
It's the same virus that earlier this year struck more than 200 people at the Winter Olympic games in Pyeongchang.
Adults on the Orlando trip set up a triage infirmary in the hotel lobby to take care of those who were ill. One student was treated at an emergency room for dehydration.
According to news reports most of the Lawrence students who got sick began to recover within 24 hours. One student was treated at an emergency room for dehydration associated with the illness.
Parents were notified by email that their child had fallen ill with what was thought to be the norovirus.
Officials with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County said that while this the time of year when normally there is a community-wide increase of this type of illness, they had not received any reports of norovirus outbreak in the Disney hotel or theme park area.
Health department spokesman, Kent Donahue, said it normally takes about 48 hours after a person comes in contact with the virus before symptoms show. "Routine hand washing, 20 seconds with soap and water," he said, is a good way to avoid spreading the virus.
The Lawrence students, who currently are on spring break, returned home Sunday.