Health department issues stomach flu advisory

| 03/04/2013

stomach-flu.gif(CNS): Following the recent gastroenteritis outbreak in Turks and Caicos, Cayman’s Public Health Department (PHD) has issued advice about what to look out for and how to take precautions against becoming infected.  No instances of the condition are reported locally and officials in Cayman say they are monitoring the situation. In it’s advisory the health department says that Gastroenteritis, commonly referred to as “stomach flu”, is an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the stomach and intestines. It can be caused by several different types of viruses, including Noroviruses, rotaviruses and adenoviruses, as well as different bacteria, such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Cryptosporidiosis. 

Common symptoms of Gastroenteritis are nausea and vomiting, watery diarrhea, fever and chills, abdominal pain and blood in the stool. Gastroenteritis can spread through the air or by coming in to close contact with someone who is infected. Viral gastroenteritis is usually a short illness lasting usually 1-2 days. Bacterial gastroenteritis can last for much longer, depending on the organism responsible for the illness. Because the incubation period for viral gastroenteritis is usually between 24 and 48 hours, anyone with the infection is advised to stay away from school or work until any diarrhea or vomiting has stopped.  The incubation period for bacterial gastroenteritis can vary from a few hours to several days.

Gastroenteritis often goes away without treatment and symptoms can last from a day to several weeks. Those infected are advised to get plenty of rest, drink lots of liquids, and avoid eating fruit and all dairy products except yogurt. 

Simple hygiene measures can minimize the risk of spreading the infection. These include washing  hands thoroughly, being careful when handling anything that has beenin contact with an infected person and avoiding the preparation of food until after the symptoms have gone.

See attachment for the full advisory.

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