Over 20 outbreaks: Gastro beetles tear through day care centers

A NEW wave of gastroenteritis on the Gold Coast has hit authorities with more than 20 outbreaks in facilities such as daycare and nursing homes across the city.

The Public Health Unit said today that the insect’s recent outbreaks could be the “tip of the iceberg” with 240 children and 85 employees known to be infected.

The outbreak, which has not yet been identified as having a specific concentration in a suburb, has hit a total of 20 daycare centers or schools and six elderly care centers in the past 14 days.

Health unit medical director Andre Wattiaux said people who have used hand sanitiser regularly during the pandemic may have a false sense of security when it comes to the outbreak.

“We suspect that it is a gastroenteritis virus like the norovirus. They are one of the few viruses that alcohol-based hand gel does not kill, ”said Dr. Wattiaux.

“While we have asked everyone to wash their hands thoroughly and regularly during the pandemic, we will have to repeat hand washing with soap and water in this type of outbreak.

“Some of the bottles of alcohol-based hand gel mention that they kill up to 99.9% of germs, so 0.1% is some of these gastro-viruses.

“Just a reminder that we need to wash our hands with both alcohol-based hand gel and soap and water is very good.

“These are short-lived attacks of gastroenteritis with diarrhea and / or vomiting, but they have spread to the children’s staff and family members.

“We were trying to find connections between the eruptions and right now there are no site connections, it’s north to south, east to west, all over the Gold Coast.”

Day care centers are among the facilities affected.

Dr. Wattiaux described the top as unusually high, and at this point the cause behind the top is unknown.

“What is unusual for us is that we don’t typically see 20 facilities reporting gastroenteritis outbreaks at the same time,” he said.

“But 20 at the same time in two weeks is a lot.

“Perhaps the presence of a lot of alcohol-based hand gel gave false confirmation of a thorough hand wash. We also have to use soap and water when washing our hands. ”

No patients have been hospitalized with the virus, but people prone to dehydration need to be careful.

“They are short-lived and quite disruptive to institutions and families,” said Dr. Wattiaux.

“In certain circumstances we may need to close or recommend closing day care centers, but we didn’t have to do so at this point.

“Halloween could be an opportunity to intensify the outbreak. Measures to reduce risk are quite simple.

“Wash regularly with soap and water and spend 20 seconds at a sink.

“With good measures, we know that we can contain these outbreaks.”

The health unit is also trying to collect more samples to better understand the outbreak.

Those who see a doctor with symptoms are asked to get tested.


GOLD coasters are urged to make hygiene a priority after several daycare centers and schools reported a gastrointestinal outbreak.

Queensland Health issued the warning Saturday morning after at least nine day care centers, and one school reported vomiting and diarrhea that week.

The Gold Coast Public Health Unit (GCPHU) is working with day care centers and the school to reduce the further spread of infectious gastroenteritis in their facilities.

Queensland Health has not disclosed which daycare centers and schools were affected by the outbreak.

Nine childcare facilities and one school reported gastro cases in the past week.
Nine childcare facilities and one school reported gastro cases in the past week.

The GCPHU doctor Dr. Vicki Slinko said it was important that parents not send their children back to school or to a child too soon after their illness.

“Children can be infectious for up to 48 hours after their symptoms have subsided. So it is really important that parents do not send children back to school or childcare, at least for this period, ”said Dr. Slinko.

Dr. Slinko warned that hand washing complacency can create and spread highly infectious viruses from person to person quickly.

“Gold Coasters were excellent with their hand hygiene when we had some COVID-19 cases in the community over the winter, but we can’t afford to relax now,” said Dr. Slinko.

Children are said to be contagious for up to 48 hours after symptoms have subsided.
Children are said to be contagious for up to 48 hours after symptoms have subsided.

“With the AFL finals around the corner tonight and Halloween this should be a reminder not only to wash your hands to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but also to wash your hands to prevent the spread of gastroenteritis prevent.

“If you take a moment to do hand hygiene, take a moment to protect the most vulnerable people in our community.”

To prevent germs from being passed on at home or on the go, Queensland Health recommends washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and drying your hands properly.

Originally published as 20+ Outbreaks: Gastro-Beetles are ripping through daycare

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