Rotavirus not being spread through local water supply
April 13, 2012
Rotavirus not being spread through local water supply

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment is advising Vincentians to wash hands frequently and practice good hygiene to help prevent the spread of the Rotavirus.{{more}}

A release from the Ministry said they have noted an increase in the number of cases of gastro-enteritis, caused by Rotavirus, over the last three weeks.

Gastro-enteritis, which is an inflammation of the stomach wall and the intestines, usually results in vomiting and diarrhea. Apart from the symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, the disease may be accompanied by fever, abdominal cramps, loss of appetite and dehydration. Dehydration could be harmful to infants, young children, the elderly and persons who are suffering from other diseases.

Symptoms of the disease usually develop approximately 2 days after exposure and may last up to 5-10 days.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, Medical Officer of Health Dr Roger Duncan dispelled rumours that the virus is being spread by the local water supply.

“The water is as safe as it has always been,” Duncan said. He said each year between March and June, an increase in the incidence of gastro-enteritis is observed.

Rotavirus spreads quite easily among children and may be spread from children to adults. Infected persons may spread the virus before and after they become sick with diarrhea.

The virus is shed in the faeces of an infected person and enters the susceptible person’s mouth to cause infection. The virus is spread by contaminated hands, toys, food or water. Good hygiene and hand washing are very important hallmarks in preventing the spread of the disease.

The most serious complication of rotavirus infection is dehydration or the loss of body fluids. Dehydration is manifested by decreased urination, dizziness when standing, weakness, and children may cry without tears, eyes may become sunken and there may be dryness to the throat and mouth. This condition is treated by the use of intravenous fluids and oral rehydration fluids.

While Duncan confirmed to SEARCHLGIHT that a two-year-old child died at the Georgetown Hospital on Saturday, he was unable to say if the child’s death was related to the virus, as the cause of death has not yet been confirmed.

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment urges the general population to be aware of this illness and to seek assistance from your health care provider if you become affected.