After meals in schools and daycare centers, at least 8365 young people and children as well as some adults in brandenburg, berlin, saxony, saxony-anhalt and thuringia had fallen ill as of sunday. However, the causes of the illnesses are not yet clear.
The federal ministry responsible for food believes that "according to the figures available, there are clear signs that the situation is easing." This said ministry spokesman holger eichele to the news agency dpa. 342 schools and kindergartens were affected.
The experts of the specially established task force mainly examined samples from food suppliers, checked the meal plans and delivery routes, and evaluated laboratory results. The first indications came over the weekend: in saxony and thuringia, the highly contagious norovirus was found to be the causative agent in some traps. It leads to diarrhea and vomiting and is often accompanied by pain, nausea and fever.
Canteen food will be produced again on monday in most of the cakes of the caterer sodexo, which supplied all affected facilities. Only in berlin two cakes will remain closed at the request of the senate, as company spokesman stephan durholt told dpa on sunday. While sodexo was still saying on friday that it did not consider itself responsible for the wave of illnesses, durholt has now said: "it has now emerged that, as far as we all know, only children who were supplied by us were actually affected. Our internal examinations are correspondingly intensive."But it is certain that there are no inconsistencies in the production process. The focus is now on the suppliers.
However, the authorities are cautious in evaluating the results of their investigations," heinz explains. They have obviously learned lessons from the sometimes chaotic EHEC crisis management. EHEC had claimed several lives. In view of the current gastrointestinal illnesses, experts now continue to assume that there must be other causes for the wave of illnesses.
The health authorities also suspect the bacterium bacillus cereus, as jurgen ziegenfub, head of department at the state office for food safety in thuringia, said. The bacterium produces toxins that are heat-resistant. In thuringia, the pathogen has been detected in two laboratory samples since the outbreak of the disease wave. "However, this is too dark to make a reliable statement," ziegenfub said on sunday.
The RKI reported that "possible causes are norovirus or toxins from toxin-forming bacteria (e.G., bacteria that produce toxins).B.(staphylococcus aureus, bacillus cereus, clostridium perfringens) should be taken into consideration." Human and food samples continued to be tested.
The course of most illnesses is "short and uncomplicated," the RKI reported. "There is no evidence of a significant number of secondary infections."That’s why the authorities assume that the illnesses are mostly not contagious. So far, 23 people have had to be hospitalized.
With 2800 cases, the most cases were registered in saxony, where 19 temporarily closed schools will be reopened on monday. 2415 cases were reported in the state of brandenburg, 2213 in berlin, 887 in thuringia, 50 in saxony-anhalt and none in mecklenburg-vorpommern, according to the RKI.