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Published On: Sat, Sep 29th, 2012

More than 8,000 German schoolchildren stricken with food poisoning, norovirus suspected

German health authorities say at least 8,300 children, along with some teachers,  have fallen ill with vomiting and diarrhea after eating food from school canteens and daycare centers in eastern Germany.

The viral gastrointestinal bug, norovirus has been found in some of the children.

According to a Deutsche Welle report Saturday, 16 cases of norovirus has been detected in patients in Saxony, while  seven cases of norovirus was discovered in Thuringia.

Despite these findings, German health officials say it is still unclear and too early to say norovirus is the cause of the epidemic.

The Robert Koch-Institut (RKI) says it was alerted to a sudden surge in gastroenteritis cases that began late Tuesday in Berlin and surrounding regions.

The RKI, which advises the German health ministry said today:

The competent health and food control authorities at the federal, state, and local levels are working to stop the current outbreak of acute gastroenteritis and identify the cause. At the federal level, these are the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL)The focus of activities to identify the source of the outbreak are epidemiological studies, which coordinates the RKI, and research on the origin and distribution channels of food that are coordinated at national level by the BVL. BfR will possibly make a risk assessment, once the relevant data are available. Necessary steps are taken by the competent food control authorities.

Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause the “stomach flu,” or gastroenteritis in people.

Norovirus Image/CDC

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.

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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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  1. Frozen strawberries likely the source of Germany’s food poisoning outbreak | www.wormfarm.co.za says:

    […] a follow-up to a story earlier this week, the food poisoning outbreak that sickened some 11,000 schoolchildren in Germany has been linked to […]

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