This article is from our archives and serves as a reminder to be careful when heading out and about in the heat, to water parks and pools, with your kids.
In the past week, over 40 cases of severe diarrhoea have been reported in the region of Petaling Jaya. The cause: Rotavirus.
A popular theme waterpark, in Bukit Merah, is thought to be the place where these people got infected. The patients range from 10 months to 30 years. We do not yet know if the source of infection was within the waterpark or if it was a guest who spread it. Nevertheless, the situation is critical and needs to be contained quickly.
The outbreak can be traced back to a water park
While the park is being investigated, it is speculated that the outbreaks are due to an ineffective filtering and chlorination process that the park uses. My guess, it could easily have been the food and drinks that are being served there.
You may have heard about this virus. A similar outbreak in 2012 in Perak affected over 2500 and claimed 2 lives. Rotavirus causes a severe form of diarrhoea in infants and young children. The WHO estimated that in 2013, there were about 0.2 million deaths worldwide due to rotavirus. That said, it is relatively rare in South East Asia.
About the infection
Children up to the age of 5 are most affected, however, milder versions of infections can occur in adults as well. The infection is highly contagious and spreads from person to person when the contaminated object comes in contact with the mouth. It infects the lining of the intestine, causing diarrhoea and vomiting.
Severe vomiting and diarrhoea may occur in Rotavirus infection
If your kid is infected, he would experience the following symptoms
- Abdominal pain
- Watery diarrhoea
- reduction/loss of appetite
If not treated in time, complications like dehydration and delirium may occur.
In telling you all this, I do not want to scare you. Though there is no direct medicine for a Rotavirus infection, the body is capable of getting rid of it. It just needs your support in keeping the body hydrated, and the body temperature maintained.
The good news
It is preventable to a certain extent. A good protection against Rotavirus is the vaccine. It is given to an infant in two doses. However, the vaccine is optional due to the low overall prevalence in Singapore. That said, fresh infections, as well as reinfections, can occur in vaccinated children as well. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of vaccination for Rotavirus.
According to the information available on the Health Promotion Board's website, the disease will resolve on its own in three to nine days.
How to prevent it?
This is the most important part! As a concerned mum, you would want to follow the following precautions
- Ask your kid to wash his hands before every meal
- Avoid going to places where there is a known outbreak
- Avoid eating at an unhygienic eatery and have boiled water in high-risk areas
- Teach your kids to maintain good personal hygiene
Stay safe mums, and keep your kids safe!
Image courtesy: YouTube