Hospital norovirus outbreak kills four

Kyodo

Four elderly patients died last month following an outbreak at a Kyoto hospital of infectious gastroenteritis caused by norovirus, hospital and city officials said Wednesday.

The victims — female and male patients in their 80s and 90s — were among 101 patients and staff who have contracted gastroenteritis since December at Soseikai General Hospital. Norovirus was found in eight of the 101 cases, the officials said.

The outbreak, which affected 67 patients and 34 staff members, has since abated. Hospital director Shiro Nagasawa told a news conference the facility feels responsible, saying it “could not identify the source of infection as norovirus in the early stages” of the outbreak.

The hospital notified the municipal government in December that 36 patients and 11 staff members had suffered infectious gastroenteritis. Local health authorities conducted on-site inspections and assessed as of Dec. 16 that the infection was not caused by food poisoning, as no common items were found among the food consumed by the four victims.