South Korea fighting norovirus outbreak in Olympic areas

A man sanitizes his hands at the entrance to the media cafeteria in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. South Korean authorities deployed 900 military personnel at the Pyeongchang Olympics on Tuesday after the security force was depleted by an outbreak of norovirus. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — South Korea says the number of people treated and quarantined for norovirus following an outbreak in Olympic areas has increased to 86 as authorities continue to struggle to track the disease’s spread.

Hong Jeong-ik from South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday the number of cases is likely to continue to rise because authorities are screening more areas for the disease that was first confirmed in an area in the host town of Pyeongchang.

Officials had initially confirmed 32 cases among security personnel and sequestered about 1,200. Because the sick workers handled security, 900 military personnel have been brought in to work at 20 venues.

The additional 54 cases included 38 security personnel, but also police officers, facility staff and a journalist who had been covering the Olympics. Not all were staying in the same place, though officials did not say where else those sickened were staying.

Hong says officials suspect the outbreak was caused by contaminated water but that an ongoing epidemiological survey has yet to confirm that.

Norovirus is a common, infectious bug that causes unpleasant symptoms including diarrhea and vomiting but doesn’t require medical treatment.

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