The mystery illness that sent several Manhattan High School students home last week with vomiting and nausea symptoms has grown.

Riley County Health Department Director Jennifer Green told KMAN after Monday morning’s Riley County commission meeting there are now 54 reported cases of students sick with vomiting and nausea symptoms.

The cases were first known last Monday with six students reporting such symptoms and the number grew to 16 by Thursday.

These cases were reported from Manhattan High’s West Campus.

“At this time, we’re not speculating what this might be or what the cause of the nausea and vomiting might be,” Green told county commissioners. “But we are still investigating and we’re asking parents to provide (stool) samples to the health department, so if we can get those samples we’ll be able to have an investigation that can go a little bit more quickly.”

Green also told commissioners her department has been in contact with the Kansas Department of Health & Environment.

“We contacted KDHE on Aug. 24 and they sent a symptom reporting form to us and to the school to help investigate,” she said. “They also sent over cleaning instructions and we sent those recommendations to the school nurse and those were disseminated to the school staff.”

Green said her staff has also contacted several other area school districts.

“We don’t have any other reports of unusual nausea or vomiting in each of those schools,” she said.

Green said the department’s disease investigator is in the process of calling parents of sick students. She recommends parents of sick students schedule an appointment with the county health department for tests.

She also recommends parents to keep students home if vomiting or nausea symptoms are present.

The health department, located at 2030 Tecumseh Rd. in Manhattan, can be reached at 785-776-4779.

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