The number of children who have fallen ill with vomiting and diarrhoea after eating food from school cafeterias and daycare centres has risen from about 4,500 to 8,400, German health authorities said today.

Officials in Berlin and surrounding eastern German states reported the new gastroenteritis cases today, while laboratory investigations to determine the exact cause of the outbreak were still under way.

Berlin's health department said the cases are moderate and most children recover within two days without needing to be admitted to hospital.

In Saxony state, at least 16 cases of norovirus, a mostly food- or water-borne illness, have been proven, according to German news agency dapd.

The government-affiliated Robert Koch Institute said yesterday that all facilities where the illness occurred probably received food from a single supplier.

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