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Enterovirus prompts disinfecting of Southampton's middle, high schools

An employee of SaniTech Services works in a

An employee of SaniTech Services works in a classroom at Southampton Elementary School Wednesday morning, Oct. 15, 2014. The school was closed Wednesday for a “thorough cleaning” after a student’s illness was confirmed as an enterovirus case, the district’s superintendent said in an alert. Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Southampton's middle and high schools will be disinfected "out of an abundance of caution" after a grade-school student was stricken by an enterovirus, officials said Wednesday as the elementary school underwent professional cleaning.

In an update on the district's website, Superintendent Scott Farina said the entire bus fleet has been disinfected and the elementary school will reopen Thursday, as scheduled.

The middle school is to be cleaned after classes Thursday; no date has been set for the high school. Neither school will have to close, Farina said.

At Southampton Elementary Wednesday, workers from SaniTech Services, the Nesconset company handling the cleaning, could be seen wearing white protective gear and masks.

The action comes after a grade-school student's illness was confirmed as enterovirus, although it is not the EV-D68 strain that has caused a national outbreak, authorities said.

The student is recovering at home after being hospitalized, a district spokeswoman said Wednesday.

"Although we have no reason to believe there are any other confirmed cases of the enterovirus at any of our buildings," Farina wrote, "out of an abundance of caution, I have decided to have the intermediate and high school buildings thoroughly cleaned as well. I believe you can never be too cautious when responding to health concerns."

While the EV-D68 strain is considered rare, nonpolio enteroviruses are very common, causing 10 million to 15 million infections a year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms are usually mild, like the common cold, but those most likely to suffer complications, such as brain infection, are children, who have not yet developed immunity, the CDC said.

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