Centres in most Australian states “plagued” by outbreaks
Hand washing and social distancing have been very important activities during the current coronavirus pandemic. As a result, instances of many illnesses – especially influenza – have fallen away dramatically. There is one very notable exception, however…
Outbreaks of gastroenteritis have been sweeping through most states in Australia, notably in childcare and preschool centres across the country, according to a recent report on the ABC News website.
“Despite all the vigilance about hygiene, childcare centres in most states have still been plagued by gastro outbreaks” writes Jean Edwards who focuses in her report on Adelaide mother Stephanie Gheller, whose family were struck down by the illness twice in three weeks. Her 16-month-old son Ezra, affectionately described as “patient zero”, picked gastro up at his local childcare centre, leaving the family “incapable of even getting out of bed”.
The illness is spread very differently to Covid, says the article, which quotes University of New South Wales Kirby Institute‘s Professor Raina MacIntyre
“Gastro is spread through contact, the fecal-oral route where something is contaminated, you touch it and then it infects you.”
“Certain viruses like norovirus, which are commonly the cause of gastro in childcare centres, can be really widespread.”
Soap and water is preferable to gels
Ensuring that children (and adults for that matter) wash their hands effectively is vitally important: good old fashioned soap and water is preferable to gels says the report.
“Doctors say hand-washing is more effective than alcohol-based sanitisers against gastro bugs.”
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