Viral gastroenteritis outbreaks across childcare centres

Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) is urging parents and carers to keep young children at home if they are sick, amid a rise in viral gastroenteritis cases in local childcare centres.

“10 cases have been reported to our Public Health Unit in the past three weeks,” said Dr Kathryn Taylor, CCLHD Director, Public Health.

Symptoms of viral gastroenteritis include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, abdominal pain, headache and muscle aches.

They can take up to three days to develop and usually last between one or two days, sometimes longer.

“Viral gastroenteritis is highly infectious, so it is important for everyone to know the signs and to stay home if they experience any symptoms, especially as we head into the festive season and more people gather to celebrate with family and friends,” Dr Taylor said.

The main treatment for viral gastroenteritis is to rest and drink plenty of fluids.

Most people recover without complications, but gastroenteritis can be serious for infants, people with suppressed immune systems and the elderly.

CCLHD is reminding local 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.

Staff should also wear gloves and a mask when cleaning up bodily fluids, including vomit, when symptoms commence at the centre, and disinfect surfaces with a freshly made bleach solution.

Press release, Dec 14
Central Coast Health

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