Gastro on the move

toilet with raised seat,

NSW Health is urging parents and carers to keep young children at home if they are sick amid a rise in viral gastroenteritis cases in childcare centres

NSW Health’s Executive Director of Health Protection, Dr Richard Broome, said gastroenteritis is highly infectious and may spread rapidly in childcare centres.

“Nearly 60 childcare centres reported outbreaks of gastroenteritis in October, which is significantly higher than usual. More than 480 children and 120 staff have been affected.

“Levels have remained high throughout November,” Dr Broome said.  

He advised the public to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and running water for at least 10 seconds before handling and eating food, and always wash hands after using the toilet, changing nappies or assisting someone who has diarrhoea or vomiting.

“Infants or children in childcare or school who develop vomiting or diarrhoea should stay at home for at least 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped, as should staff members and anyone whose work involves handling food or looking after children, the elderly or patients.”

NSW Health is also reminding childcare centres to reinforce basic hygiene measures, such as regular hand washing (paying particular attention to hand washing after attending to nappy changes), cleaning all hard surfaces and providing education to help prevent the spread of infections.

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