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PORTLAND -- The Multnomah County Health Department was investigating a possible outbreak of Norovirus at a Portland elementary school onFriday.

Forty students with symptoms similar to norovirus called in sick from Rieke Elementary School Thursday after suffering from vomiting Wednesday night and Thursday morning, according to Portland Public School spokesman Larry Bingham.

On Friday, 20 more children called in sick and ten were sent home for similar causes. The school normally has about eight to ten children out sick on a normal day.

The school notified the Multnomah County Health Department, Bingham said.

The county sent a letter home to parents Friday that stated it was investigating the incident and that symptoms might be caused by Norwalk virus, another name for norovirus.

The letter signed by Community Health Nurse Rita Gilham what symptoms to watch for:

What is Noro-virus? This is a common but highly contagious infection causing vomiting or diarrhea. This virus is spread through food, water, or close contact with infected people or things they have touched. Illness usually occurs two or three days after being exposed. Exposed persons are contagious about 48 hours before experiencing symptoms.

Most people get better within one or two days, but some become dehydrated and may need medical attention, Gilham said.

PPS was planning to disinfect Rieke on Saturday, Bingham said.

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