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May 27, 2017

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Cluster diarrhea outbreak infects 150 in Kaohsiung

KAOHSIUNG -- There have been 14 cases of diarrhea in a cluster infection reported from school campuses in Kaohsiung since mid-February, when schools opened after the winter break, the municipality's Department of Health said Sunday.

In the cluster outbreaks, some 150 students have become sick, mostly elementary school and kindergarten children, the department said.

After an investigation into the infections, norovirus was found to be the main culprit, the department added.

Norovirus, a highly contagious disease for which there is no treatment, is transmitted mostly through the fecal-oral route. The virus can be spread rapidly among students if some of them have poor hygiene habits, the city department said.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, from March 5-11, the percentage of emergency room visits by patients suffering from diarrhea was 7.17 percent, higher than the 6.68 percent in the same period of last year.

The data also shows that a total of 41 diarrhea clusters were reported countrywide in the March 5-11 period, up from 18 to 20 clusters previous weeks.

Most of the cluster outbreaks in Kaohsiung, the largest port city in southern Taiwan, have occurred in elementary schools and kindergartens, the city department said.

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