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Swedish school suffers vomiting bug outbreak

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Swedish school suffers vomiting bug outbreak
File photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT
08:07 CET+01:00
A quarter of all pupils at a school in southern Sweden have have been struck down with a winter vomiting bug. 150 children are sick, in addition to a host of teaching staff.

As the annual winter vomiting bug season starts to kick in it's the Tofta high school in the south which is bearing the brunt of it so far. 

In total 173 people who attend or work at the school have been affected by the bug. Even the headmaster hasn't been spared.

"It struck last Friday but now I'm back at work," headmaster Tobias Fahlén told the Expressen newspaper.

Parents reported that the bug began to take hold on Friday, with many stating that their children began vomiting uncontrollably. Several have asked the school to investigate the outbreak which has led to deserted classrooms.

As a result the school has now got in contact with the disease control centre in nearby Malmö. The centre advised the school to do some extra cleaning in the toilets and school kitchen to help combat the vomiting bug.

An epidemiologist with the disease control centre who is working with the school said it was most likely a vomiting bug that was ravaging the school, and not food poisioning as some parents had suspected.

"The symptoms speak more for a virus than a bacteria," Niclas Winqvist told the Helsinborgs Dagblad newspaper.

He added that parents should observe the 48 hour rule after the bug has kicked in and said that some had so far been impatient and sent their children back to school too early.

The headmaster of the school said a similar outbreak had occurred last year but stated it wasn't quite on the same scale. He urged parents not to panic.

"Our picture is that it is starting to slow down a bit now. Several of the staff have now come back to work," said Tobias Fahlén to Sweden's Expressen newspaper.

The winter vomiting bug, known in medical terms as as the Norovirus, causes the sufferer nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

It tends to peak in Sweden in February when parental sick leave numbers are at its highest.  

TT/The Local/pr

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