Over the past few weeks, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment has recorded an increase in the number of gastroenteritis cases.

Acute gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and the intestines and may be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites among others. Gastroenteritis is spread by direct contact with an infected person, by consuming contaminated food or water or by touching contaminated surfaces then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth.

According to a release from the Ministry of Health, symptoms of gastroenteritis include vomiting which may or may not be accompanied by diarrhea, stomach pain and fever. In most cases, gastroenteritis is a self-limiting illness; however children and the elderly are most susceptible to complications such as dehydration and should therefore be monitored closely. Signs of dehydration include decreased urination, dry mouth, crying with few or no tears or feeling drowsy or sleepy.

The Health Ministry is asking persons to prevent the spread of gastroenteritis by practicing good hand hygiene, washing fruits and vegetables before eating, avoid the sharing of dining utensils, sanitization of surfaces and isolating until all symptoms have passed.

Persons are asked to please seek medical attention at their nearest Health Centres if their condition does not improve or if there are signs of dehydration.

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