111 students report 'flu-like illness' after Andrew HS prom at Shedd Aquarium

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - More than 100 students from a southwest suburban Tinley Park high school have gotten sick after attending the school’s prom Friday night at the Shedd Aquarium.

Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park has received reports 111 of the 400 students who attended the prom falling ill with “flu-like symptoms” over the weekend, according to a statement from Principal Bob Nolting that was sent out to parents Monday and district officials.

“We have many individuals who work very hard on creating a prom experience that is enjoyable and meaningful,” Nolting said. “It is saddening to see the excitement of an otherwise positive and memorable event dampened by this situation.”

The Cook County Department of Public Health is looking into the source of the illness, Nolting said.

The health department said the illness seemed consistent with norovirus, but laboratory tests have not yet confirmed whether the virus was responsible for the students getting sick, according to spokeswoman Kimberly Conrad-Junius.

She said the individuals who fell ill “may have engaged in several other activities other than prom.” The health department plans to administer a questionnaire to students regarding their whereabouts in the days leading up to the prom.

Shedd Aquarium spokeswoman Andrea Rodgers said the aquarium notified its food service provider, Sodexo, after learning about the illnesses.

Rodgers and a Sodexo spokesperson said they “do not believe there are any safety concerns related to food or drink being served to our guests visiting the aquarium.

“We have confirmed there have been no further incidents reported with subsequent large private catering guests and events that occurred since the Friday night prom, and there have been no reports from any onsite guests who have visited the aquarium since that time,” Rodgers said. “We also did an extra precautionary deep clean of the aquarium last evening.”