More than 10,000 children with vomiting diarrhea



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Over 10,000 children in eastern Germany had vomiting diarrhea.

In East Germany, more than 10,000 children and adolescents have diarrhea (acute gastroenteritis), according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in a current epidemiological report. According to the RKI, "there is a connection with food consumption in care facilities and schools." Noroviruses are suspected to be the cause, but the cause of the wave of diseases has not yet been finally clarified.

The majority of the reported gastrointestinal disorders broke out in five eastern German states around a week ago. Since then, the "responsible health and food surveillance authorities at federal, state and local levels have been working to stop the current outbreak of acute gastroenteritis and identify the cause," reports the RKI. At the federal level, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) are also involved. According to the experts at the RKI, the climax of the diseases has already passed. "The events have calmed down further in the past four days" and "there is increasing evidence that the outbreak is over," the RKI said. The cause of the real vomiting diarrhea epidemic remains so far unclear.

Norovirus may be the cause of vomiting diarrhea The responsible authorities are working flat out to identify the cause of diarrhea. According to the RKI, "the microbiological results of the past few days are increasingly pointing towards a norovirus event, even if this has not yet been conclusively confirmed." In addition, possible causes include "toxins from toxin-forming bacteria (for example: Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Clostridium perfringens). ”It could also be a superposition of two disease events. Samples of food and the affected patient are examined in the laboratory. However, some of the results are not yet available.

Connection with canteen food in schools and daycare centers According to the authorities' previous assessment, the cause of vomiting diarrhea was spread by eating in the canteens of day care centers and schools. According to the federal states of Brandenburg, Berlin, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, almost all 416 care facilities concerned were supplied with food by a common supplier via regional kitchens. The caterer Sodexo from Rüsselsheim (Hessen) had supplied the facilities with food. The Berlin State Secretary for Consumer Protection, Sabine Toepfer-Kataw (CDU), said that the suspect food apparently came from a caterer's supplier. However, the Secretary of Consumer Protection did not provide more specific information. The Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection said that "in the coming days, the investigations will be continued intensively at all levels" and that "meal plans and shopping lists in particular would be evaluated and canteen employees interviewed". The flow of goods and deliveries of foodstuffs that may be affected should be traced back in order to determine the causes of the disease.

The climax of the illnesses survived The vomiting diarrhea children affected in five eastern German states showed symptoms such as fever, massive diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Dizziness and loss of appetite were observed as accompanying symptoms. "In the affected groups, the onset of illness was quick and occurred within a relatively short period of time," reports the RKI. The course of the disease in most cases was short and uncomplicated, but 21 patients had to be treated in hospital. The authorities of the RKI have reported that only late reports of past illnesses have been received by the authorities since September 28 and come to the conclusion that the peak of the wave of illnesses has already been overcome. According to the RKI, most diseases were recorded in Saxony and Brandenburg (more than 3,000 cases each). But also in Berlin more than 2,600 children and adolescents fell ill. In Thuringia, however, just under 1,000 adolescents were affected and in Saxony-Anhalt well below 100, according to the current figures from the RKI. The next management report of the institute was announced for Thursday.

Largest food-related gastroenteritis outbreak in Germany Despite the intensive search by the state health authorities and the “Task Force” under the leadership of the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety in Berlin for the cause of vomiting diarrhea, it is not clear whether this can actually be determined. According to the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety, there have also been cases of food-borne illnesses in the past that could not be resolved. However, none of the previous disease events reached such a scale. Even the EHEC epidemic last year only affected a total of around 4,000 people. The current gastroenteritis outbreak "is by far the largest known food-borne outbreak in Germany by far with at least 10,008 cases," reports the RKI. (fp)

Read on:
Norovirus identified as a cause
Wear mouth protection if you suspect norovirus
Norovirus in school lunches? 400016351a2cc0b08c03>

Image: Dieter Schütz / pixelio.de

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