Gastro warning

Some Yanchep and Gingin residents are experiencing gastroenteritis symptoms consistent with norovirus infection.

THERE is anecdotal evidence Yanchep and Gingin residents might have been exposed to norovirus.

The Department of Health website says norovirus is a type of virus that causes gastroenteritis, with vomiting and diarrhoea.

“It is highly infectious and may cause outbreaks in settings such as schools, child care centres, aged care facilities, cruise ships, restaurants and hospitals,’’ the website said.

“When people are infected with norovirus they shed the virus in faeces (poo) and vomit.

“Infection occurs by touching objects or surfaces that are contaminated with the virus, and then touching one’s mouth, consuming food or drink that is contaminated with the virus and swallowing aerosolised particles that are dispersed in the air after an infected person has vomited.

“Norovirus is easily spread from person-to-person as the virus can survive on contaminated surfaces.

“Many common disinfectants do not kill norovirus.

“Symptoms generally start one to two days after exposure to the virus and illness usually lasts for one to three days.’’

Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, stomach cramps,  headache, low grade fever, chills and muscle aches.

“There are many causes of gastroenteritis, and laboratory testing of a faecal specimen is necessary to confirm that symptoms are due to norovirus infection.

“There is no specific treatment for norovirus.

“People with confirmed or suspected norovirus infection should drink plenty of fluids such as plain water or oral rehydration drinks (available from pharmacies) to avoid dehydration.

Dehydration is especially dangerous for babies and the elderly.

If you experience severe or prolonged symptoms you should visit a doctor.

“While you have the infection  do not go to work or school for at least 24 hours after symptoms have finished, or 48 hours if you work in or attend a high risk setting, such as healthcare, residential care or child-care, or handle food as part of your job.

“Wash and dry your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet.

“Avoid preparing or handling food for other people until symptoms have resolved.

“If you must prepare or handle food, thoroughly wash your hands beforehand to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others.  “Immediately remove and wash any clothes or bedding contaminated with vomit or diarrhoea using detergent and hot water.

“After an episode of diarrhoea or vomiting, clean contaminated surfaces (for example benches, floors and toilets) immediately using detergent and hot water.

“Then disinfect surfaces using a bleach-based product diluted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.’’