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District: 8 Hospitalized After Infectious Disease Outbreak

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A school district in western Wisconsin says eight people have been hospitalized as officials investigate an outbreak of an infectious disease affecting high school students.

The Durand School District in Pepin County says that one student has a confirmed Campylobacter infection while several other students await test results. They are expected to come down on Thursday.

Of those hospitalized, at least five are students, the school district's superintendent said. Many of those affected are in the high school's football programs, including coaches and managers.

Campylobacter are bacteria that cause an infectious disease with symptoms of diarrhea, cramping and fever. The bacteria are associated with unpasteurized dairy products, poultry, produce, and contaminated water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The district said that Campylobacter is a common cause of gastrointestinal illness in Wisconsin and that students with symptoms should not go to school.

The superintendent said that on Monday around 40 students called in sick. By Wednesday, that number jumped to 55 students.

The illness is only affecting people in the Durand middle and high school, which are housed in the same building.

While the district said that there's been no recommendation from health officials to close the school, they are doing extra cleaning and urging students and staff to wash their hands.

While it's yet unknown how the students were exposed to Campylobacter, the district is looking into it.

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