Cause of Mysterious Illness in Cole County School Still Unknown

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COLE COUNTY - The Cole County Health Department is still investigating the cause of a mysterious illness that spread throughout Cole-R1 elementary and middle schools, as of Friday morning.

In the news release, the department said parents began reporting the disease around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday. The health department then contacted school officials who confirmed the illness. 

Dr. Marie Peoples, public health director for Cole County Health Department, said it has identified 91 sick students and two school staff members.

The school district then launched an investigation and on Thursday, ruled out food poisoning as a cause.

Superintendent Jerry Hobbs said the school is back to normal and only 14 students were absent from school on Friday. He said people should not be too worried. 

"We have been trying to corporate with the health department, trying to do everything we can to identify what the virus is. If this happened two or three months ago, nobody would think anything about it, typically when the flu season is. But at this point during the later part of the school year, it is not a typical thing that happens. But basically it is just a flu virus that happened to our kids," Hobbs said. 

The health department said it plans to finish the investigation soon and release the result next Monday or Tuesday.