Thousands of German children have been affected by what is likely an outbreak of norovirus. Those affected are experiencing vomiting and diarrhea, the hallmark combination of norovirus. The Robert Koch Institute, which advises the German government on infectious diseases, states that all of the affected schools and daycares likely receive food from the same source, and that this is the most likely mechanism of transmission in this case. A taskforce has been established to handle the situation.
The initial estimate of 4,000-6,000 cases has now risen to approximately 8,400. New cases were still being reported yesterday (Saturday, September 29). Laboratory testing is underway to confirm the cause of illness, but at least 16 cases have now been confirmed as norovirus. The cases so far have been moderate, without the need for hospitalization in most instances.