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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Germ Declared Disease

TOKYO () -- Japan officially declared the food poisoning germ that has been sweeping the country a contagious disease Tuesday, invoking a rarely used law to give authorities greater powers to contain the illness.

The invoking of the Infectious Disease Prevention Law for the first time in two decades came amid mounting concern about the public response, with reports of sufferers facing discrimination and bullying.

The O-157 colon bacillus responsible for the food poisoning epidemic has killed seven people and afflicted more than 9,000 patients this year.