More than 900 students and 40 teachers and staff at 14 elementary schools in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture fell ill to suspected mass food poisoning on Wednesday and Thursday. The local education board said that all the afflicted showed symptoms related to food poisoning, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
The number of students who reported vomiting and diarrhea reached 905, while 41 teachers and staff reported the same symptoms, according to health and education officials. Seiko Terada, director of health from the board said that those afflicted, “developed such symptoms Wednesday night.” They noted that the victims ate lunch at their schools. However, further connection of their school lunches with the symptoms is still being verified. Meanwhile, Hamamatsu city health official Toshihiko Furuta said that they have “detected norovirus in 11 stool samples taken from the affected pupils.”
The Board of Education said that the lunch served in school might have been the source of the outbreak as lunches are prepared in the schools. Officials are already checking the ingredients stocked in the schools’ kitchens to see if there are some that have been purchased from the same supplier. Because of the epidemic, twelve schools that were affected were closed on Thursday and until Friday.