Dozens of children aged between 12 and 15 got sick last Monday in the ferry terminal of the port of Zeebrugge. They were returning home from a 4-day trip in West Flanders where they visited war sites and Great War cemeteries.
The sudden outbreak of the symptoms caused a panic - about half of the whole group became unwell. 43 children were taken to 7 hospitals while 47 others, who did not become ill, had to spend the night in a nearby youth hostel as the voyage to England was postponed.
Tests have revealed that the youngsters contracted the norovirus, which is very contagious. You can become infected by eating contaminated food, or if you touch an object or surface that has been infected with the virus and then touch your nose, mouth, or eyes. It can also be passed on easily between humans.
There are no reports of any problems with the food they ate during the trip. The quality of the food is said to be okay. Other possible causes are being looked into. They could also have been infected by another person.