ASHMORE — A stomach ailment, not food poisoning, might have been the cause of the illness that kept about half of Ashmore Elementary School’s students out of school Wednesday, a Coles County health official said.
“seriously doubt” that food was the cause of the illness that sickened
enough of the school’s students and staff for district officials to
order the school closed Wednesday, county health department director Dan
Stretch said there doesn’t appear to be any “common
food” that those who became ill and those who did not both ate. Based
on interviews, the department found about as many of the ill students
ate the school lunch as did not, he said.
Fifty-five of the
school’s 100 students were absent again Thursday, Charleston School
District Superintendent Jim Littleford said. About 40 of them were still
ill or still had some symptoms, while parents kept the rest home as a
precaution, he said.
The illness also affected five of the
school’s 14 staff members, but all but one of them, a custodian, were
back at school Thursday, Littleford said.
Stretch said the health department is trying to collect stool samples
from some of the infected people so they can be sent to the Illinois
Department of Public Health for testing. He didn’t know when tests might