30 Children down with gastroenteritis at Singapore preschool

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The children allegedly fell ill after eating lunch provided at the pre-school...

30 Children have been affected, after an outbreak of gastroenteritis at Singapore preschool. Authorities are investigating the incident, which happened at MindChamps [email protected]

As of 26 February 2019, a total of 31 people from the centre had developed gastroenteritis symptoms. One of them was a school employee. Two of those who fell sick had to be hospitalised, but have since then been discharged. 

Gastroenteritis at Singapore preschool

According to a report in Shin Min Daily News, the children allegedly fell ill after eating lunch provided at the pre-school on Feb 21 and Feb 22, and had fever, vomiting and bloatedness.

In a joint statement, the Ministry of Health (MOH), National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said that they had conducted a joint inspection of MindChamps [email protected]'s premises on 25 February 2019.

Investigations are going on, and the school caterer's premises has also been inspected. As per the statement, a food handler has been sent for stool screening, and food and environmental samples have been taken for testing. 

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) is also looking into the matter, and revealed that all 30 affected children are either resting at home or have returned to school.

Meanwhile, MindChamps has responded to the incident, and said that it is completely co-operating with the authorities on the matter.

"We would like to assure our parents that the entire centre has stepped up its cleaning and hygiene procedures based on the MOH advisory for prevention of the stomach flu virus", said a MindChamps spokesman, in response to queries from The Straits Times.

What is gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is an infection of the gut (intestines). It causes diarrhoea and may also cause symptoms such as being sick (vomiting) and tummy (abdominal) pain. In most cases the infection clears within a few days, but sometimes it takes longer.

gastroenteritis at Singapore preschool

What causes gastroenteritis in children?

Gastroenteritis is usually caused by a virus, such as rotavirus or adenovirus. Rarely, it can be a bacterial infection too.

What are the signs and symptoms of gastroenteritis?

  • Diarrhoea (Runny, watery poo)
  • Vomiting
  • Tummy Pain
  • Fever

How does gastroenteritis spread?

  • Through direct contact with the infected person.
  • By touching infected surfaces.
  • Through improper hand washing.
  • By putting hands into mouth often.

How is gastroenteritis in children treated ?

Dehydration is a dangerous outcome of gastroenteritis. You can prevent this by:

  • Giving your child small quantities of fluids at frequent intervals.
  • If you are breastfeeding, keep doing so, at frequent intervals.
  • Avoid junk food and soft drinks.
  • Avoid coffee and tea as they can cause dehydration.

Signs of dehydration

Watch for these warning signs:

  • dry mouth and tongue
  • sunken eyes
  • cold hands and feet
  • Unusually sleepy or inactive child
  • fewer wet diapers or not passing as much urine as usual

Any of the above signs signals an urgent visit to the doctor.

gastroenteritis at Singapore preschool

Other warning signs

Take your child to the doctor or hospital immediately if:

  • your child has vomiting and/or diarrhoea and is less than 6 months old – babies can become dehydrated and unwell quickly.
  • your child is drowsy and difficult to rouse.
  • your child has diarrhoea (8 to 10 watery motions in 1 day).
  • there is blood or mucus in your child's poo.
  • your child starts vomiting green fluid (bile).
  • your child develops severe stomach pains.
  • your child shows signs of dehydration.
  • your child's diarrhoea continues for more than 10 days.

Precautions that you need to take

  • Make hand washing a habit, especially after going to the toilet and after changing diapers.
  • Make sure the toilet is clean.
  • Isolate the infected child’s laundry and wash it with hot water.
  • Avoid sharing food and drinks.
  • If your child is affected, keep him/her away from school or kindergarten or daycare until the diarrhoea has cleared up.
  • Discourage your child from putting his hands into his mouth often.

Also READ: 

Can i still breastfeed if I am having stomach flu? And if I pump do I dump?

How do you deal with stomach flu and mild diarrhoea for infant?

What can we give if baby is having cough and flu? 

(Source: The Straits Times, Channel NewsAsia, KidsHealth)

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Written by

Jaya