An outbreak of an unknown virus in eastern Germany has made 4,000 school children ill. It is believed contaminated school lunches are to blame, causing excessive vomiting and diarrhoea among young sufferers.
Anke Protze who works for the Chemnitz Health Bureau, explains the nature of the illness.
“There are serious and not so serious cases - some children had to be hospitalised. With this sickness you have an enormous loss of fluids and minerals. That means the first thing to do is not give antibiotics but replace the fluids,” she said.
Several schools have closed their doors as a precautionary measure. All eyes are now on catering company Sodexo, which supplies all the schools hit by the bug.
Sodexo spokesman Stephan Dürholt outlined his company’s position: “For the moment we are not able to see any reasons for this. We’re analysing everything possible and are trying to eliminate all the things that could lead to any possible form of this disease.”
Prior to the virus, critics were already calling on the government to spend more money on school dinners. An investigation into the cause of the outbreak is currently underway by the German health department.