Diarrhea Outbreak hits Solomon Islands. Photo credit: newsinfo.inquirer.net.

Diarrhea Outbreak hits Solomon Islands. Photo credit: newsinfo.inquirer.net.

Diarrhoea has claimed the lives of 16 children and affected over one thousand people in the past two weeks.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services, MHMS, is therefore declaring a nationwide diarrhoea outbreak.

Dr. Chris Becha, Under Secretary, Planning and Policy in the Ministry of Health says Diarrhoea is a leading cause of death in children under five years old.

Rotavirus has been confirmed as the cause of the outbreaks in Honiara, Guadalcanal and Gizo, Western Province.

Rotavirus infections are highly contagious and spread through person-to-person contact, contaminated objects, or contaminated food or drink.

He explains, symptoms including diarrhoea and vomiting, usually develop between 1 and 3 days after being exposed to the virus.

A statement from the Ministry yesterday says the outbreaks have been reported in six provinces, including Guadalcanal, Western, Choiseul, Malaita, Central and Makira provinces.

Meanwhile, Dr Becha says parents should request that their children be given oral rehydration salts, ORS and zinc to reduce the duration and severity of the illness, and ensure children take these medications as instructed.

The Under Secretary Planning and Policy says rotavirus which is the cause of the outbreak can be prevented by thorough hand washing for 10 seconds using soap and water and drying with a clean towel after going to the toilet or caring for someone with diarrhea, and before preparing or eating food.

The Health Ministry urges all Solomon Islanders to take their child to a health clinic as soon as they show signs of diarrhea.

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