Creating a healthier, better connected Gippsland.

Health alert – Increase in gastroenteritis outbreaks in childcare 28 February 2022

Status: Active

Date issued: 28 February 2022 – Update to Advisory issued 20 December 2022

Issued by: Assoc. Professor Deborah Friedman, Deputy Chief Health Officer (Communicable Disease)

Issued to: Childcare providers, parents with children in early childhood education, the Victorian community

Key messages

  • Parents and carers are urged to keep young children at home if they are sick amid a rapid rise in outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis in Victorian childcare centres.
  • Infants or children, as well as staff, who develop vomiting or diarrhoea should not attend childcare, camps or any other group activities until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped. If symptoms are severe or they persist, or you are concerned, see a GP for advice and possible testing.
  • Viral gastroenteritis is highly infectious. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, abdominal pain, headache and muscle aches, with more severe outcomes in the elderly and very young. Symptoms can take up to three days to develop and usually last between one or two days, sometimes longer.
  • Washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of infection. Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are not effective against many common viruses that cause gastroenteritis.
  • Staff and parents should be vigilant for symptoms of gastroenteritis in children and reinforce basic hygiene measures.Cleaning and sanitising are also important infection control measures and facilities should follow relevant Department of Health guidelines.Anyone recovering from gastroenteritis should avoid visiting hospitals, childcare centres and aged care facilities to avoid spreading the infection to those most vulnerable. Any person living in a household with someone who has gastroenteritis should refrain from visiting these high-risk facilities until at least 48 hours after the last person in the household has recovered.
  • Read the full advisory: Increase in gastroenteritis outbreaks in childcare.

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