The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has confirmed the current diarrhoea outbreak in the country is caused by a ‘rotavirus.’
Under Secretary for Health Improvement, Dr Chris Becha confirmed this in a recent media conference.
He says the Ministry’s surveillance has sufficient evidence that a rotavirus has caused the diarrhoea outbreak.
“So the Ministry now has sufficient evidence to confirm that the current diarrhoea outbreak is mainly caused by a rotavirus after receiving the stool samples sent overseas for laboratory testing both in Fiji and Australia.”
Dr Becha explains how the virus spreads.
“Rota virus is easily spread by the vomit or faeces of an infected person directly from one person to another. For example, when touching the hands of someone who is sick, when changing nappies of babies with diarrhoea, from touching surfaces or objects that are contaminated with diarrhoea or vomit, and sometimes from contaminated water or food, so rota virus is the leading cause of severe diarrhoeal diseases which leads to severe dehydration and eventual death especially for children under five.”
Meanwhile, Head of Paediatrics at the National Referral Hospital, Dr Titus Nasi called on parents and guardians to practice hygiene to avoid babies and children under five from contracting the rota virus, affecting infants and children under five years old.
He also explains the symptoms.
“The common age group that affects them are between six months up to two years, but we are taking under five as our cut off because they are all at risk so they usually presented with a bit of fever not that high, mostly vomiting for the first two to three days and then diarrhoea comes and sometimes earlier on, but usually day three into the infection, so it takes two to three days – from the time of infection to the signs and symptoms.”