Noro virus: dozens of students break down

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Numerous students break down at a high school in Freital. Doctors suspect a Noro virus infection as a possible reason for the physical breakdown of the adolescents.
Dozens of pupils collapsed at a high school in Freital (Saxony). Some of the adolescents had to be treated in hospital because of circulatory problems. The first signs, according to the chief rescue doctor of the district, Ulf Aschenbrenner, indicate a Noro virus infection. "All symptoms speak for it, but final laboratory results are not expected until Wednesday," explained Aschenbrenner.

Around 70 students at the Weißeritzgymnasium in Freital had to be treated medically in the course of the morning. During the physical education class, the first girls and boys suddenly complained of nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramps and sometimes vomited. 16 girls and boys had collapsed and, according to the police, are currently still in the hospital, 20 more are receiving medical treatment. According to the district office, the cause of the dizziness is probably a noro virus infection.

Sixteen students in the hospital - Gymnasium closed After some students in a seventh grade had collapsed in physical education, the school alerted the emergency call and first air samples were taken in the sports hall, since it was initially assumed that there may be airborne pollutants for the circulatory problems Students are responsible. However, no pollution was found in the air samples and in the course of the morning further pupils of the fifth and seventh classes collapsed in neighboring classrooms due to acute circulatory problems. Kati Hille, deputy for school questions in the district, explained that numerous pupils had been ill in the high school for days; on Monday alone, 13 pupils in a 10th grade had withdrawn from class due to illness. The schoolchildren affected had probably been infected for a long time, and the exertions from physical education caused the Norovirus disease to break out acutely, the deputy explained. The high school was closed, teachers and pupils were not allowed to leave the school until the afternoon, according to eyewitness reports. The rescue workers and fire brigade are deployed with a large contingent. According to the police, 16 children had to be hospitalized, the remaining pupils were first examined and treated in the school building. In total, more than 70 girls and boys are affected, reports a police spokesman.

District office assumes Noro virus infection Karin Kerber, spokeswoman for the Saxon Switzerland-Eastern Ore Mountains district, also said when asked by "DNN-Online" that an infection with the Noro virus was probably responsible for the breakdowns of the students. Initial examinations would indicate a Noro virus disease, emphasized the spokeswoman for the district office. The symptoms of the affected pupils ranged from vomiting and dizziness to diarrhea and loss of consciousness, whereby the disease features are just as typical of the Noro virus as the rapid spread, according to the district office. In the case of a Norovirus infection, the incubation period is only a few hours, which would explain the rapid spread among the students, said Karin Kerber. According to official information, 891 pupils are currently being taught by 81 teachers at the high school.

Easily transferable noro-viruses, with a short incubation period In the opinion of the rescue doctor Aschenbrenner, a norovirus wave is not an unusual occurrence in schools at this time of year, but an infection wave with such a rapid spread and numerous breakdowns, as suggested by the district office in the course of the morning is still relatively rare. Although the noroviruses are often transmitted with a minimal infection dose of only 10 to 100 virus particles, the incubation time is usually about ten to 50 hours. A transmission takes place through a contact infection or smear infection, in which the noroviruses are excreted via the stool or vomit and are usually passed on to fellow human beings via the fecal-oral route. Infection often also occurs through contaminated drinks, food and objects. In particular, residents and staff of all kinds of community facilities are particularly at risk, since the shared use of the hygiene facilities promotes a local outbreak.

Noroviruses cause symptoms of severe gastrointestinal flu. Norovirus diseases are usually short and severe. The symptoms subside after one to three days. The symptoms of the disease are primarily characterized by gastroenteritis (gastrointestinal flu) with sudden diarrhea and vomiting. This can lead to significant fluid loss and is therefore particularly dangerous for older people and children. A Norovirus disease is usually accompanied by a pronounced feeling of illness with abdominal pain, nausea, headache and muscle pain, with more than 50 percent of patients having to vomit. Massive circulatory breakdowns, as they have apparently now occurred in the high school in Saxony, are rather rare. The 20 affected students, who had also complained of similar symptoms after the first breakdowns, probably only felt excitement on the stomach, according to the doctors.

District sets up citizen telephone The district Saxon Switzerland-Eastern Ore Mountains has set up a telephone for citizen questions due to the incidents. In addition, the students who were in contact with the sick were strictly separated from the other students, reports the school management. The lessons at the high school are scheduled to take place again tomorrow, with all parents and pupils receiving information sheets with information about the Noro virus and information on hygiene measures, the school said. (fp)

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