Norovirus Scare After Death of 2nd Santa Monica High Student

Santa Monica Pier (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)
Joel Pollak / Breitbart News

Fears of a norovirus outbreak are taking center stage after the death of two Santa Monica High School students this school year.

Eighteen-year-old Kelly Cano died Saturday, and 15-year-old Vanai Jelks died in October. Cano was a senior at Santa Monica high and Jelks was a sophomore.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the cause of death has not been determined for either teen. The doctors who worked with Cano “could not rule out norovirus as the cause of … death, but … it could take up to six months for toxicology reports to come back with a definitive answer.”

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District spokeswoman Gail Pinsker responded to concerns that the two deaths may be related and may be due to an ongoing norovirus outbreak, saying:

Parents are concerned now and at this time we have no evidence of any connection between the two deaths. We have been assured that Kelly’s sudden death is not thought to be associated with the gastrointestinal illness, possibly norovirus, that has affected students and staff in SMMUSD the past two weeks, including a few cases at Samohi [Santa Monica High].

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes norovirus as “a very contagious virus that can infect anyone.” It can be contracted from “infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces…[It] causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed.” The inflamation is followed by “stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and [vomiting].”

The CDC also notes that “Norovirus can spread quickly in closed places like daycare centers, nursing homes, schools, and cruise ships.” It also reports that “most norovirus outbreaks happen from November to April in the United States.”

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at