Gastro bug outbreak in MidCentral region

KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 07:50 27/03/2014

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Childcare centres and rest homes have been caught up in a gastroenteritis outbreak in the MidCentral District Health Board region.

Six cases of the nasty stomach bug, also known as gastro, have been reported to MidCentral Public Health Services this month, compared with one case in March last year.

Gastroenteritis and other stomach bugs cause diarrhoea and vomiting, and typically resolve after a few days.

Medical officer of health Dr Robert Weir said three of the outbreaks were in childcare centres, and three were in aged care facilities. "Most outbreaks are caused when an infected individual enters the environment, usually to visit a relative or pick up a child from their education centre," he said.

"The vulnerable nature of children and the elderly, combined with their close proximity to each other, means that it is easy for the infection to spread. There is no known link between these outbreaks, which are spread across the region."

Dr Weir said it was timely to remind people of good hygiene measures when there were increased cases of gastroenteritis in the community.

"These measures include regular hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds, and 20 seconds' drying," he said.

"Frequently touched surfaces should be regularly cleaned, including bathroom facilities, door knobs, and telephones, especially when there has been illness in the household."

Dr Weir said people with stomach bugs should stay away from school, childcare centres, work environments or social get-togethers until they had been symptom-free for 48 hours.

Most community pharmacies in the region assess children under 16 years old suffering from gastroenteritis, and provide treatment and education for mild dehydration at no cost.

Contact Healthline for more information, 0800 611 116.

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- Manawatu Standard

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