Irish athletes to stay in different hotel as sickness bug rips through London 2017 World Championships

Irish athletes to stay in different hotel as sickness bug rips through London 2017 World Championships

IRISH athletes arriving in London for the World Championships are to be housed in a different hotel after a gastroenteritis outbreak hit the competition.

At least two leading medal contenders – including Irish hurdler Thomas Barr – have been forced to pull out of their races after the bug struck.

Waterford native Barr pulled out of his 400m hurdles semi-final at the last minute after he fell ill in the early hours of Monday morning.

Botswana's Isaac Makwala is the latest competitor to pull out after the sickness spread through the official competitors’ hotel.

Competitions organisers confirmed on Monday night that several London 2017 competitors - staying in the same accommodation - had suffered gastroenteritis.

London 2017 said in a statement: "There have been a number of cases of gastroenteritis reported by team members residing within one of the official team hotels for the World Championships.

"Those affected have been supported by both team and LOC (local organising committee) medical staff. In addition we have been working with Public Health England to ensure the situation is managed and contained.

"As a result, further advice and guidelines have been issued to team doctors and support staff - standard procedure for such an occurrence where a number of teams are occupying championship accommodation."

Irish Athletics have now confirmed their decision that all athletes coming into the team headquarters for the remaining events of the championship will be housed in a separate hotel.

Siofra Cleirigh-Buttner, who runs in the 800m on Thursday, as well as race walkers Rob Heffernan, Alex Wright and Brendan Boyce, all competing on Sunday, will stay in alternative accommodation.

Restricted contact will also be enforced between the new members and the rest of the team, who have been offered immediate flights home.

Barr is the only Ireland athlete so far known to be affected.

Public Health England today said around 30 people had been affected, with laboratory tests having revealed norovirus.

"PHE has been notified of a confirmed outbreak of norovirus among people associated with the World Athletics Championships,” they said.

"We have so far been made aware of approximately 30 people reporting illness and two of these cases have been confirmed as norovirus by laboratory testing.

"PHE has been working closely with the London 2017 organisers and the hotel to provide infection control advice to limit the spread of illness."