Mass poisoning of Russian cadets triggers criminal investigation

More than 20 Russian children were poisoned at a cadet school in the Moscow region, sparking a criminal investigation.

Twenty-two children from the Lukhovitsy cadet school in Moscow sought medical attention, 19 of whom were hospitalized, Russian state news agency Tass quoted the regional health ministry’s press service as saying.

Russian President Vladimir Putin poses with cadets
Russian President Vladimir Putin poses for a selfie with cadets during a National Unity Day street rally in Red Square on November 4, 2015 in Moscow, Russia. More than 20 Russian cadets were poisoned at a college in the Moscow region.
Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images

Russia’s Investigative Committee said it had opened a criminal investigation into the mass poisoning of the children. The committee added that the preliminary cause was rotavirus infection, a gastrointestinal infection that primarily affects children, local online publication Lukhovitskiye Vesti reported.

An investigation was launched “due to the provision of services that do not meet the requirements of life and health safety, which led to mass poisoning of children in one of the Lukhovitsy schools,” the Investigative Committee said.

Newsweek the Russian Foreign Ministry emailed for comment.

Lukhovitskiye Vesti reported that four of the children were in serious condition and were taken to an infectious disease hospital. The committee’s investigation will include interviewing school administrators and children, the outlet said.

The news agency added that the children attend the Orel Cadet School, which trains future sailors.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rotavirus often causes severe, watery diarrhea and vomiting in infants and young children. It can cause dehydration, require hospitalization and even death.

Symptoms typically begin two days after a person is exposed to rotavirus, and vomiting and watery diarrhea can last three to eight days. Infection occurs when rotavirus particles enter the mouth, for example, after putting unwashed hands contaminated with feces in the mouth, touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then putting fingers in the mouth, or eating contaminated food, states the CDC.

There is no specific medication to treat rotavirus infection, but symptoms can be managed.

The press service of the regional Ministry of Health said that all children received the necessary medical care.

In June, 60 cadets from the Ural Law Institute were poisoned in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, local news agency URA.RU reported at the time.

“Symptoms of poisoning were detected in 60 people, 47 of them sought medical help,” the publication reported, citing a local emergency services source.

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