Officials Credit Stomach Illness for Absences


Coles County officials say a stomach ailment may have been what kept about half the students out of Ashmore Elementary School earlier this week.

Health department director Dan Stretch said Friday investigators doubt food was the cause of the illness that sickened enough of the school's students and staff for district officials to close the school Wednesday.

Charleston school district Superintendent Jim Littleford says 55 of the school's 100 students were absent again Thursday.

Stretch says the illness could have resulted from a hygiene issue, telling the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier it usually occurs in "confined situations'' where a large number of people are in the same space for a long time. He said the illness doesn't appear to be a flu virus, which usually affects the respiratory system.

Story source: AP