The highly contagious virus that infected at least 190 people at North Myrtle Beach Elementary has been identified as a norovirus, an illness most people know from its cruise ship outbreaks.

Nearly 200 students and staff members stayed home sick on Friday, and the school will remained closed for most of this week for a thorough cleaning.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced the finding Sunday after analyzing stool samples from people who were infected.

Department spokesman Thom Berry said people often hear of norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships. There haven’t been recent outbreaks in any other S.C. schools, but some were reported this year at several nursing homes and residential care facilities in the Upstate, he said.

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