Parents are being urged to keep children at home if they are unwell following a substantial increase in the number of gastroenteritis outbreaks in childcare being reported to NSW Health.
NSW Health Executive Director of Health Protection Dr Richard Broome said 156 outbreaks of gastroenteritis in early childhood education centres were reported in NSW in February.
"Almost 1,000 children and more than 210 staff members have been affected to date, a 97 per cent increase above the number normally reported for the month of February," Dr Broome said.
"NSW Health has notified the directors of NSW early childhood education services to an increase in viral gastroenteritis outbreaks and since then there have been further notifications of gastroenteritis outbreaks across the sector."
Viral gastroenteritis is highly infectious. Viruses are spread from the vomit or stool (faeces) of an infected person. This can occur when cleaning up body fluids, during person-to-person contact, sharing of contaminated objects and occasionally inhaling airborne particles when people vomit.
Viral gastroenteritis symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, abdominal pain, headache and muscle aches. They can take up to three days to develop and usually last between one or two days, and sometimes longer.
Advice for parents and caregivers includes:
The main treatment for viral gastroenteritis is to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Most people recover without complications but it can be serious for infants, people with suppressed immune systems, and the elderly.
Please refer to
information on how to prevent the spread of gastroenteritis.