Major gastro bug outbreak brings down hundreds in southeast

 

Dozens of outbreaks of highly infectious gastroenteritis have hit the Gold Coast, with child care centres, schools and aged care facilities affected.

Figures supplied by Gold Coast Health show more than 300 children at 16 child care centres and 11 schools have been hit by the bug.

Three nursing homes have also been affected.

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Young woman washing her hands in a basin. Generic image. Thinkstock.
Young woman washing her hands in a basin. Generic image. Thinkstock.

Gold Coast Public Health Unit medical director Andre Wattiaux said cases had been building up during the past three weeks.

Dr Wattiaux said general practitioners on the Gold Coast were also diagnosing higher than usual numbers of people with gastro.

Despite the ongoing mantra during the coronavirus pandemic about hand hygiene, he said "a couple" of the viruses that cause gastro were not killed by alcohol-based hand gel.

He said the most effective way to kill norovirus, one of the most common causes of gastro, was to wash hands regularly with soap and water.

Dr Wattiaux urged people to wash their hands as regularly as possible throughout the day, using alcohol-based hand gel when they were unable to access soap and water.

"Hand hygiene is really key," he said.

He said people should also keep children home for at least 48 hours after the end of their gastro symptoms before sending them back to school or child care to prevent them passing the illness on to others.

Gastroenteritis can be particularly dangerous in young children and the elderly, resulting in severe dehydration.

Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

 

 

 

Originally published as Major gastro bug outbreak brings down hundreds in southeast


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