Upsurge in Gastroenteritis in St. Kitts

According to the Chief Medical Officer, CMO, Patrick Martin, this increase has been observed over the past week.  He said the agent is known as Rotavirus – a common cause worldwide.

Symptoms of the medical condition said the CMO, include vomiting and diarrhea.  Most cases are mild and can be managed at home.  However, there is no need for alarm, assured the official.

Severe cases are those with dehydration with symptoms such as weakness, dry lips, dry eyes, and decreased level of consciousness.  Severe cases are medical emergencies and must be seen in hospital immediately.

Rotavirus is transmitted from person to person by hands and objects contaminated with feces.  Feces may also be carried by houseflies and cockroaches.

Prevention requires strict hygiene – hand washing with soap and water; proper disposal of pampers; secure storage of garbage containers.

Treatment is simple and effective with oral rehydration fluids available from health centers and pharmacies.

The CMO is however cautioning that the use of the following is likely to cause serious and life-threatening complications – Antibiotics, liquid Gravol, diarrhea medicine such as Kaopectate and Peptobismol, juices, and sodas such as Sprite. These items must be avoided at all costs.

Martin said the public can obtain further information and advice from Community Health Centers or private medical practitioners.


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