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Mystery school illnesses

HEALTH authorities yesterday said they are still investigating a case where 10 first-grade students suffered nausea and vomiting on Wednesday afternoon at Shanghai Pinghe Bilingual School in Pudong New Area.

Victims include both Chinese and expatriate students. The private school didn't identify the students, but claimed that they were all in stable condition.

Gu Zhenhua, director of the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration's food supervision department, said the SFDA is cooperating with the Pudong New Area Center for Disease Control and Prevention on the case.

"We suspect it is the Norwalk Virus, but we can't confirm it now," Gu said. "It may take at least one week to confirm the cause."

The Norwalk Virus is a common cause of acute gastroenteritis and symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. The virus usually spreads through tainted food or water.

The school said it reported to district-based health authorities and contacted parents immediately after the students fell sick. The school disinfected public areas including the cafeteria, dormitory and classrooms on Wednesday. The remainder of the school was disinfected yesterday.

School authorities said it improved ventilation in all dormitories and classrooms.


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