Ministry urges public to adopt hygienic practices to curb spread of gastroenteritis |05 May 2023
The Ministry of Health is calling on parents to observe a high level of hygiene in the homes, such as washing of the hands often, among other hygienic practices, to curb the spread of gastroenteritis which is affecting children across the country at the moment.
The call was made by Dr Juliette Rioux (pediatrician) from Health Care Agency (HCA), during a press conference at the Seychelles Hospital yesterday afternoon.
Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by infection with bacteria, parasites, or viruses causing diarrhea and vomiting. Apart from causing diarrhea and vomiting, other symptoms include abdominal cramps (dull or sharp pains) and feeling or being sick with fever. It affects people of all ages, but is particularly common in young children. Most cases in children are caused by a virus called rotavirus.
According to Dr Rioux many children are reporting at clinics across the country with gastroenteritis and ten among them, aged between 1-9 years, were admitted in the pediatric ward of the Seychelles Hospital on Wednesday due to severe cases of diarrhea and vomiting.
“At all times we have to observe a high level of hygiene by making sure that food given to children has been cleaned and also well prepared and to also wash the hands often,” said Dr Rioux.
She added that parents should encourage children with diarrhea to drink plenty of fluid such as water, apple juice, coconut water and oral salt to replace lost fluids.
She noted that if the child’s health worsens, they must be immediately taken to their respective clinic to see the doctor.
Dr Rioux said that given the pediatric ward can cater for 29 children, already 37 with different health problems are admitted at the moment and due to the spread of gastroenteritis, the HCA is looking to use the corridor and other wards not fully occupied to shift some admitted patients and to cater for incoming patients if necessary.
She stated that HCA is monitoring the situation and taking samples to identify the type of virus which is causing the increase in cases of diarrhea among children.
She noted that due to effective measures against rotavirus, which had been the main causes of diarrhea and vomiting in children in the country, the virus is no longer a threat and is not responsible for the diarrhea and vomiting cases happening now.