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Thousands of school kids 'struck by virus'

The Local · 28 Sep 2012, 16:57

Published: 28 Sep 2012 11:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Sep 2012 16:57 GMT+02:00

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A task force of state and national officials was set up on Friday to investigate the cause of the illnesses, as the number of sick children increased dramatically during the day.

The affected children are suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting, and some of them have had in-patient hospital treatment, the newspaper Die Welt reported. The affected states include Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia, a spokeswoman for the Robert-Koch Institute public health agency told the paper.

Berlin saw the most rapid increase in the number of cases, with some 2,200 children sick by Friday afternoon. Saxony registered 2,000 cases, and Brandenburg 1,500.

Consumer Affairs Minister Ilse Aigner said the goal was "to find the cause of the illnesses as soon as possible and to stop its entry into the food chain."

The food services company, Sodexo, which provides food to the affected schools and pre-schools has questioned its responsibility for the sick children.

“Less than five percent of all the schools we deliver to have sick children,” Sodexo spokesman Stephan Dürholt said on Friday.

“We presume that the cause of the illness is a norovirus outbreak, which we have nothing to do with,” Dürholt said. “The reason that almost all of the children ate food from our kitchens is simply because we deliver food to a lot of schools. We hope that the children feel better soon.”

The Robert-Koch-Institute spokeswoman told Die Welt that it stood to reason that the children were suffering from a food-borne illness, and that some of them had tested positive for the norovirus.

The norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea, is highly contagious, and can be transmitted by contaminated food or water, infected people, or contaminated surfaces.

Story continues below…

The first lab results from the produce used by the food services company were expected Friday afternoon. Many schools in the region were closed as a precautionary measure.

DAPD/The Local/mbw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:39 September 28, 2012 by pjnt
Should this company be resoponsible I would assume they will blame an individual and get off. This has happened too often in Germany with expired chicken and contaminated vegtables.

4000 kids will get badly ill and a single lower level manager will be blamed, fired and fined, perhaps even jail term. No compensatin to the families will be available. The company who sets the guidelines and safety standards will keep it's contract to provide food and suffer nothing except the scapegoat victim they throw to the wolves.

The individual needs greater protection and the comany needs greater responsibility.
14:21 September 28, 2012 by Masala
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:25 September 28, 2012 by z5um
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:28 September 28, 2012 by IchBinKönig
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:40 September 28, 2012 by lordkorner
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
00:28 September 29, 2012 by coffmap8
If it is a problem give your child 2 ounces of apple cider vinegar and a bit of honey in a bit of water 3 times a day. It is a natural disinfectant and will cure the intestinal tract problem! Taking apple cider vinegar every day will stop even the most severe problems. New England Folk Medicine Facts from the USA. I can now suck it right out of the bottle and be relieved. Think about this when traveling to foreign countries. It works!
00:46 September 29, 2012 by gorongoza
There is too much spitting of saliva and mucus in Germany - at bus or tram stations and on pavements.

It looks like its acceptable to just spit anywhere in this country. I stopped smoking at work after getting disgusted by fellow German workers spitting on the floor at the smoke-designated area.

What surprises me is that they feel no qualms at all at this terrible behaviour ! To them this is very normal.
09:39 September 29, 2012 by catjones
Sodexo already knows they're not to blame...why bother with facts? Besides, it's less than 5% of the kids and nobody died. Have a pretzel or drink the water in berlin.
10:41 September 30, 2012 by smart2012
In Germany hygienic standards not very high. I live in

a building in the city center of Munich (Schwabing, one of the most posh areas of munich), and the waste system consists of holes at every floor connected to each other which bring the waste in the building basement (next to cellars and wash rooms), where the waste stays for a week. There is a very bad smell, mice are running happily, and people stores kinder strollers 5 meters away from the waste room. In Canada we had a system like that 20 years ago and they closed it as not meeting hygienic standards..

Germany should improve on hygienic requirements. And kids now affected by the virus ate 8000.
00:04 October 3, 2012 by Pakistani
u know, u could call german food as "safe" as possible..... BUT is it actually food.......... grocery stores selling preserved meat what they call "fresh"........... vegetables in the same manner.............. meat minced into that overly ground mass with fat blood and all that connective tissue ................... you should call it protein and not meat......................... with germany not being able to grow squat.... and the food being manufactured instead of grown or reared, that is what you should expect............... local produce should be encouraged and made cheaply accessible.............................
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