Norway’s vice-health minister for public health and environmental affairs, Erdal Oztak, said the outbreak was unprecedented in terms of the number of infections detected
Omicron outbreak at Norway Christmas party is biggest outside South Africa, authorities say
Norway’s health ministry has confirmed an outbreak of a highly contagious intestinal illness, Omicron that affects mainly children, at a Christmas party.
“We must conclude that it was very hard to stop this outbreak. There is now another type of Omicron, the gastroparesis bacteria,” Erdal Oztak, Norway’s vice-health minister for public health and environmental affairs, told broadcaster NRK.
Norway currently has a secondary outbreak of a similar disease, porphyria, an acute, life-threatening condition often preceded by vomiting, Steinunn Fjortoft, a spokeswoman for Norway’s health ministry, told Reuters.
Omtak, who took up his role earlier this month, added that the Norway vice-health minister had called an emergency meeting and developed a strategy.
He said the number of cases had peaked since early June and the number would fall, but he could not say if the number of affected children would ever go below 500.
Norway and Sweden, both about the size of Australia, are responsible for about a quarter of the cases globally, Oztak said.
He said the latest outbreak of Omicron, an infection caused by a rare bug with the name osoderma undecorposa, had been caused by its cousin, the gastroparesis bacterium known as intesteteomycete.
Gastroparesis, a condition in which the bowel becomes blocked and cannot pass stool properly, was a “big surprise” in Norway, Oztak said.
Last November about 160 children in Norway were affected by a diarrhoea-induced infection linked to the use of a home-freshener – called (Codell) – which was imported from South Africa. Many of the pupils were treated with antibiotics in hospital.
Otter World Foods, the maker of Omskiver home-freshener, which was used at the event, apologized for the incident and said it was working with health authorities to find and eliminate the cause of the outbreak.
The affected party, where about 3,300 people took part, took place at the Strøget convention centre in Oslo.