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Published On: Sun, Jan 26th, 2014

Japan: Hundreds of schoolchildren sickened in Hiroshima, norovirus suspected

The Hiroshima City Board of Education reported that a total of 415 students from 10 junior high schools in the city exhibited gastroenteritis symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, and were unable to attend to their classes on Friday, according to HACCP Europa report Saturday.

Norovirus Image/CDC

Norovirus
Image/CDC

The norovirus-like symptoms have been linked to school meals. According to initial reports, the 10 schools affected by the outbreak all received lunches from the same bento maker, leading officials to suspect the plant was the origin of the virus.

This outbreak follows a norovirus outbreak in Hamamatsu, which sickened nearly 1,000 schoolchildren and teachers recently.

Norovirus is a highly contagious viral illness that often goes by other names, such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning.

The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.

Norovirus is spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typically spread through contaminated food and water, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea.

Norovirus causes more than 20 million illnesses annually, and it is the leading cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in the United States.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page and the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show page.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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