A single batch of deep-frozen strawberries appears to have been behind an outbreak of gastroenteritis in eastern Germany that hit more than 11,000 people, mostly children at schools and day-care centres.

The national disease-control centre, the Robert Koch Institute, said late on Friday that studies showed a strong connection between eating food prepared with the strawberries and the cases of vomiting and diarrhoea.

It says evidence has increased that norovirus, a mostly food- or water-borne illness, was the cause – though it can’t yet entirely rule out other pathogens.

Agriculture Ministry spokesman Holger Eichele told news agency DAPD that the strawberries are believed to have come from outside the European Union.

Officials have said the sicknesses were moderate and most children recovered quickly without needing to be hospitalised.

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