Gastro outbreak puts childcare centres and nursing homes on alert

September 7, 2016

A spike in gastroenteritis cases in the state's childcare centres and nursing homes has led to the Health Department issuing a warning. 

Twenty-five cases have been reported across the two types of facilities in the past six weeks. 

Childcare workers are paid around $20 an hour or $40,731 a year.  Photo: Peter Braig

The department has issued a warning to facilities across Perth reminding them to take extra precautions. 

"There is often an increase in the number of outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis experienced in residential aged care facilities and child-care facilities during winter and spring," a spokeswoman said. 


"Overall levels of gastroenteritis in the community appear to have been around or below average levels to date in 2016."

'Gastro', an infection or inflammation of the digestive system causing nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain, fever, tiredness and body ache, can be caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites.


You can get it from drinking or eating something contaminated, coming into contact with microscopic amounts of faeces or vomit from an ill person through touching contaminated surfaces, or handling pets and other animals, after which the germs transfer from your hands to your mouth. 

Symptoms usually start within a day but can start as early as an hour later or as long at two months later depending on the type. 

Those infected should drink plenty of water - dehydration is especially dangerous for babies and the elderly. 

Avoid anti-vomiting or anti-diarrhoeal medications unless these are prescribed or recommended by a doctor. If you experience severe or prolonged symptoms you should visit a doctor.


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