Over 900 Shizuoka pupils suffer apparent food poisoning

AFP-JIJI

More than 900 pupils at elementary schools in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, have fallen ill in a suspected outbreak of mass food poisoning, possibly norovirus, officials said Thursday.

The number of students who reported vomiting and diarrhoea reached 905 by late Thursday at 14 elementary schools in Hamamatsu, the local board of education said.

About 40 teachers and staff at these schools also showed symptoms of food poisoning, the board said.

“Most of them developed such symptoms last night. They had eaten school lunches, but any causal relation with the symptoms have yet to be confirmed,” said Seiko Terada, director of health and school lunches at the board.

The affected schools were closed Thursday and will remain shut until at least the end of Friday.

“We have detected norovirus in five stool samples taken from some of the affected pupils,” Hamamatsu health official Toshihiko Furuta said.