Youth Football Teams Fall Violently Ill During Las Vegas Championship

Parents say nearly 60 kids became mysteriously ill with nausea and dehydration.
3:00 | 11/30/13

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Transcript for Youth Football Teams Fall Violently Ill During Las Vegas Championship
vegas this morning. What made dozens of kids in the town for a football championship turn violently ill? Some of them, even wound up in the hospital. Our dr. Besser is here this morning. First, here's abc's clayton sandell. Reporter: This morning, for players on several youth football teams, las vegas odds seemed to be against them. Parents say nearly 60 kids, in town for today's national football championship suddenly became violently ill. Nausea, dehydration and vomiting. It felt crazy. It felt like we were in an outbreak movie. Reporter: Nearly two dozen players from the santa monica vikings, ages 7 to 9, and parents got sick, loading into hotel shuttle buses friday for a ride to the hospital. I was very scared because i really didn't know what was going on. Reporter: Whatever is causing it is a mystery. We don't know the source. It could be airborne virus or could be foodborne. Reporter: Tournament organizers don't believe it's food poisoning, pointing out that teams have been staying at different restaurants. And players at different hotels are getting sick. Overnight, everyone who went to the hospital, expected to be released. None of our kids want to cancel the tournament. Our kids earned this. And all of our kids want to play. Reporter: If it happens in vegas, they'll still play in vegas. For "good morning america," clayton sandell, abc news, denver. Our thanks to clayton. Let's turn to dr. Rich besser. This sounds really nasty. We don't have all of the details. But what does it sound like to you? It sounds to me like a large norovirus outbreak. Norovirus is the largest cause of outbreaks of stomach flu in the united states. This is the peak season. When you hear a lot of vomiting, a lot of abdominal cramps, d diarrhea, that sounds like norovirus. How does something like this get around? It's one of the nastiest germs around. It spreads person-to-person through contact. And it spreads through food. And contaminated surfaces. And violently ill so quickly. What is the treatment for this? The big concern is dehydration. When you're losing fluid, you can lose enough to become dehydrated. That's why so many are going to the emergency room. There's no drug to treat it. You have to let it run its course. It's more upsetting when you hear kids as young as 7 and 9. The big problem with these outbreaks with teams is they've been saving money to play in this tournament. And they're contagious for two days after their symptoms go away. If they're on the field playing, they're going to be spreading. That's not what they came to vegas to be doing.

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