MONROE, N.C. -- Close to 200 people at a local school may have the same gastrointestinal illness.
Union County Schools said 20 to 30 students at Shiloh Elementary have contracted the sickness but by late Friday afternoon, the Department of Human Services said 174 people have reported symptoms since Wednesday.
A school spokesperson says this is not food poisoning and the students have symptoms that are similar to a virus.
The most common symptoms reported are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and loss of appetite. The symptomatic employees and students were told to stay home from school until being symptom free for 48 hours.
About 600 students attend the school on Rogers Road in Monroe. Class was dismissed for the day on Friday and administrators planned for the school to be cleaned once everyone went home.
The county is working with the State Division of Public Health in this investigation.
The state health department will test samples taken from those sick with the illness. Right now the cause is unknown. Regardless of the origin, dozens of students and staff are dealing with troubling stomach symptoms.
"I threw up three times," said Daniel Song.
The fourth grader at Shiloh Elementary went home early Friday because of a stomach illness. He says about 10 other classmates went home with similar issues.
"Whenever I eat I'm still getting dizzy," said Song.
Union County Schools tells NBC Charlotte so far 30 kids have contracted an unknown gastrointestinal illness. The Union County Division of Public Health reports 174 people have been identified with symptoms of the illness that include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite.
"I have not seen this many children in my tenure here that have been out of school for any particular reason other than summer break," said Phillip Tarte, Union Co. Public Health Director.
The school district said Friday that Shiloh Elementary would be cleaned thoroughly and students will return to class on Tuesday as regularly scheduled. The Union County Division of Health asks those with similar symptoms who have been in contact with anyone at the school to let them know.
Others who have been in close contact with students or staff from Shiloh Elementary and have become ill should call their doctor and Union County Division of Public Health at 704-296-4813.