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‘Medium alert’ over gastroenteritis increase

There has been an increase in cases of diarrhoea and vomiting in Bermuda

An increase in reported cases of diarrhoea and vomiting illness over the last four weeks has caused the Ministry of Health to issue a medium alert.

The Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit released a statement asking members of the public to contact their healthcare provider if they are concerned about symptoms of gastroenteritis.

Your doctor may wish to test for the cause and it is advised to seek prompt medical attention if you or a person in your care is severely ill, due to the risk of dehydration. This is especially important for young children and seniors.

You can help to prevent the spread of infection by staying at home until you are well. The ministry released the following advice:

“Those who have symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea should not go to work and should not handle or prepare food for others while ill.

“Professional food handlers and caregivers should consult a physician or the Department of Health before returning to work.

“Children with diarrhoea and/or vomiting should not attend a school or Day Care Centre until 48 hours from the last episode of diarrhoea.

“Children in diapers with diarrhoea should not use wading/swimming pools.

“While you are ill or caring for someone who is ill: wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially after using the toilet, and before eating. Hand sanitiser may be used if the hands are not visibly dirty.

“Flush or discard any vomit and/or stool in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean.

“Disinfect contaminated surfaces, eg: kitchen counters, bathroom surfaces.

“As a general precaution: Cook and store food appropriately. Keep hot food hot (at 140 degrees F or above) and cold food refrigerated (at 40 degrees F or below.)

“Use bottled water when travelling in countries where the water supply might be unsafe. In Bermuda, the Department of Health recommends that tank water be disinfected before it is used for drinking or food preparation — common methods include boiling, ultraviolet light, and chlorination.”

Further updates will be given if the alert level rises or if a specific cause of the diarrhoea and vomiting is identified.

For more information please visit www.gov.bm/sites/default/files/Diarrhea-and-Vomiting-Illness-2015.pdf