Severe gastrointestinal infections in a fully occupied Harz hotel
Numerous guests of a hotel in the Harz region suffered from severe gastrointestinal infections and several sufferers had to be admitted to the surrounding hospitals. In the fully occupied hotel, there has been a practically exceptional state since Thursday. The cause is probably noroviruses, but a final confirmation is still pending.
“In the Maritim Hotel in Braunlage this morning a so-called mass casualty (MANV) was triggered. The reason for this was gastrointestinal complaints from several guests, ”said the Goslar district on Thursday. The pathogen behind the complaint is currently still being examined and the results of the laboratory tests will probably be available on Monday. However, noroviruses are already suspected to be the cause. The county health department is also on site to help contain the infections.
Emergency services for those affected
According to the leading emergency physician, the number of people affected on Thursday was "30 people who were looked after by rescue workers during the morning", the district announced. Three hotel guests were brought to surrounding hospitals for further treatment. Already on Thursday, the medical director of the ambulance service, Dr. Tobias Steffen, "it cannot be ruled out that other holidaymakers will suffer from similar symptoms in the coming days."
Infection numbers continue to rise
On Friday, the number of sick hotel guests rose to 60, reports NDR 1, citing a spokesman for the district of Goslar. This affects around 15 percent of the approximately 400 guests. According to the NDR, the number of people who had to be hospitalized has increased to eight. The health authority is now responsible for examining the cause and spread of the infection, according to the Goslar district. Here it is also the responsibility of the health authority to coordinate and initiate suitable measures with the hotel management that prevent the further spread of the virus infection.
Comprehensive countermeasures initiated
Several measures have already been taken in the hotel to counteract the spread of the pathogens. According to the hotel director, the buffet operation was stopped vis-à-vis the NDR, disinfectants were provided and the food was currently served with gloves and a face mask. All guests are informed and hotel operations are to continue. To what extent the measures will be successful will only become clear in the coming days. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the incubation period for norovirus infections is around 48 hours and the virus is excreted in the stool up to 14 days after an acute illness. Therefore, careful sanitary and hand hygiene is required even after the acute phase.
Season of the noroviruses
Currently, norovirus infections are on the rise throughout Lower Saxony due to the season. According to the State Health Office, 351 new infections were reported in the 51st calendar week and the total number of infections in the 48th to the 51st calendar week was 1136 cases, well above the expected number of cases (927). In the district of Goslar, 28 cases were reported in the 51st calendar week, but if the hotel was suspected of norovirus, this number would suddenly more than triple in the 52nd calendar week.
Signs of a norovirus infection
According to the RKI, typical indications of a norovirus infection are "beginning gastroenteritis, which is characterized by violent, violent vomiting and severe diarrhea (diarrhea)." In some cases, the symptoms can also be limited to vomiting without diarrhea or diarrhea without vomiting. As a rule, there is a pronounced feeling of illness with abdominal pain, nausea, headache, myalgia and weariness. Another problem is the massive loss of fluid, which can be life-threatening in the worst case. (fp)