Officials have confirmed that 111 students from Andrew High School in Tinley Park, Ill., have reported symptoms ranging from chills and a fever to vomiting and diarrhea since the school hosted its 2018 prom on April 27. Approximately 400 students are said to have attended the dance, which means that more than a quarter of them were struck by the unidentified illness.
The venue for the prom, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, may hold clues as to what befell the students. A spokeswoman for the aquarium said that other guests have not reported any illness, but “an extra-precautionary deep clean” of the space was ordered to be on the safe side.
“At this time, we do not believe there are any safety concerns related to food or drink being served to our guests visiting the aquarium,” spokeswoman Andrea Rodgers said in a statement.
Sodexo, the food vendor for the aquarium, is investigating the matter, while school officials are working with affected students and parents to pinpoint common symptoms, meals, and activities that may explain the cause of the outbreak.
“The school district continues to work with Shedd Aquarium and the Cook County Department of Public Health to determine the source of the illness,” District 230 spokeswoman Carla Erdey told the Chicago Tribune.
Though the symptoms are in line with norovirus, local health officials have yet to confirm the exact illness.
“Clearly, my heart goes out to all our kids and their families who were affected,” Principal Bob Nolting said in a statement posted to the school’s website. “We have many individuals who work very hard on creating a prom experience that is enjoyable and meaningful. It is saddening to see the excitement of an otherwise positive and memorable event dampened by this situation.”
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