After massive infections of children at debts and daycare centers: In some patients, the norovirus could be identified as the cause
The search for the cause of the disease of the now around 8,300 gastrointestinal diseases in children, teachers and carers is still in full swing. As reported by health authorities, the dangerous norovirus was confirmed as the cause in a total of 23 children.
In some cases of diarrhea in large numbers in the eastern states, the norovirus was diagnosed as the cause in 23 children. There are 16 patient cases in Saxony and seven in Thuringia. It remains unclear whether noroviruses are responsible for the now 8,300 patients.
A final assessment cannot yet be made
A final clarification of the cause cannot yet be given. "It is too early for such a determination," said a spokesman for the Dresden Ministry of Social Affairs. “We still don't know what the cause is. Further stool and food samples have to be taken and examined in the laboratory ”. In Saxony alone, 2,800 patients with abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting (enteritis) were reported by Friday evening. The authorities in Thuringia assume that other causes could be possible. In this context, the Berlin Senate spoke of "toxic bacteria" at the beginning of the weekend. Accordingly, viruses could not only be the cause.
The Thuringian Ministry of Health stated that the norovirus was detected in 27 patients in samples. "It cannot yet be said that it was this or this cause," said a ministry spokesman. As of Friday, 887 gastrointestinal diseases in children and some educators were reported to the authorities in Thuringia.
Proof is difficult
It is also difficult to prove because the “peak of diseases has been exceeded”, as federal and state doctors said on Saturday. The surge in new cases at the end of the week was not due to the fact that other children and carers were ill. Rather, "the increased numbers are late registrations by the state authorities".
In the majority of the recorded patient cases, the infectious disease occurred without serious complications. Only a few children had to be admitted to a clinic and treated. Most patients had severe diarrhea and vomiting. In the case of a norovirus infection, the symptoms of the disease have healed after three days at the latest. The large amount of fluid lost could lead to dehydration, which is why parents of the affected children are asked to ensure that the children have adequate hydration. "Unsweetened tea or water is best," says Dr. Friedrich Raimund. However, this was rarely the case. Wearing a mouth guard is also important to protect yourself from infection. "Contaminated areas caused by vomit, for example, should be cleaned disinfectively after putting on mouth and nose protection," says the pediatrician.
Norovirus is highly contagious
Norovirus disease is highly contagious. Children, elderly people and people with chronic illnesses in particular are often affected, which is why an outbreak usually occurs in daycare centers, schools, clinics and geriatric care facilities. Noroviruses are widespread all over the world and are also among the most common pathogens of infectious gastroenteritis in Germany.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin did not want to confirm noroviruses as the cause by the weekend and therefore did not yet give a final assessment. "Not every laboratory result has to be commented on," said the spokeswoman for the institute, Susanne Glasmacher. Upon request, Holger Eichele, spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection referred to information from the RKI. The RKI is responsible for medical matters and assessments. The Ministry takes care of the area of food inspections.
Since Tuesday, thousands of cases of illness among children, adolescents and some teachers and kindergarten teachers from the federal states of Thuringia, Saxony, Brandenburg and Berlin have been reported. The media figures vary between 6700 and over 8000 cases. The RKI suspects a context between the food delivered in schools and kindergartens, since all the facilities concerned were supplied by the same company.
Food supplier rejects possible guilt
The supplier "Sodexo", which operates several locations nationwide, has denied any responsibility. According to the food supplier, "studies of food and delivery routes are currently underway". All documents were "made available to the authorities without gaps", as stated in a statement on the website of the producer. "The increased hygiene measures remain in effect." However, at the request of the responsible authorities, "the delivery of some kitchens was stopped". Nevertheless, according to the company, there is “no evidence of a connection between the illnesses and the food deliveries”. Some media in Berlin also report cases of illness that occurred in schools where other food suppliers took over the care. The offices will update the report once laboratory results have been announced. (sb)
Wear mouth protection if you suspect norovirus
Norovirus in school lunches? 4000 children sick
Image: Aka / pixelio.de