A Gatineau elementary school will be closed today after almost half of its student population missed school Thursday after an outbreak of what health officials believe was a gastro-intestinal virus.

The Outaouais Health and Social Services Network advised school board officials to close École primaire Carle because the virus is believed to be a short-term illness that passes after 24 to 48 hours.

The virus became an epidemic at the school when 189 students missed class Thursday. On Wednesday, 90 students did not show up.

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Almost half of the students at one Gatineau elementary school were absent Thursday, believed to be due to a gastro-intestinal virus. (CBC)

Health officials believe the weekend would end any recontamination of the school. The school board, Commission Scolaire des Draveurs, also had workers disinfect the interior of the building Thursday night.

Parents who spoke to CBC News agreed with the decision.

Public health officials also said a gastro-intestinal virus is currently moving through three long-term care facilities and a daycare centre in Ottawa. Officials said if your child is sick, do not send them to school.