Michigan Health Department On Alert After Mysterious Illness Kills Kindergartner, Sickens Others In Detroit

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Health authorities in Michigan are on alert after an unknown illness struck an elementary school, sickening multiple students and killing one. 

Marcus Garvey Academy in Detroit was shuttered after a flu-like illness tore through the school, causing fever and vomiting among the students, CBS News reported. Chrystal Wilson, a spokeswoman for the Detroit Public Schools Community District, told Chalkbeat Detroit, the school had experienced “an unusually high rate of flu-like symptoms including student fevers, and vomiting, namely at the early grade levels.”

“We have been actively communicating with the Detroit Health Department about these cases and we have mutually agreed that the best course of action right now is to close the school until Monday,” Wilson added.

Although Wilson confirmed the death of a kindergartner at the school who had experienced the flu-like symptoms, it was still unclear whether the death was related to the unknown illness, adding that the medical examiner had not yet determined the cause. (RELATED: Three Teachers Dead Amid Suspected Disease Outbreak In Colorado School District)

Although the sickness’ driver is unknown, Dr. Kevin Dazy, a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, stated it’s not unusual, even this late in the season, to see respiratory viruses.

“Sure, this is a little bit later in the season. By no means is it unheard of that we may see another wave of any viral respiratory illness,” Dazy told NBC News. Dazy added that physicians don’t normally test for respiratory viruses during off-peak seasons which could explain why the culprit behind the illnesses hasn’t been identified yet.

“We do not yet have confirmation on the cause of the illness, and will share that information with Detroiters once that information has been confirmed,” a statement from the Detroit Health Department read, according to Chalkbeat. The health department further advised parents of children aged 4-7 to seek medical care immediately if they began experiencing symptoms such as fever, headache, lethargy, nausea and vomiting and/or abdominal pain.