Stay home if you have diarrhoea

2 September 2016

If you have diarrhoea please stay at home says Medical Officer of Health Dr Bruce Duncan. The reminder is issued after two cases of shigella, a bacteria that can cause severe diarrhoea have been found at a local early childhood centre.

Two children from the centre have had severe diarrhoea and have been very unwell. Dr Duncan has been working with the staff at the early childhood centre to contain outbreak. The centre will be closed next week.

“Closing the centre is the best way to stop transmission of the bug and to test any new cases,” says Dr Duncan. “Anyone who is infected with the bug is likely to develop diarrhoea within one to three days. They may also have a fever and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually last five to seven days.”

“People who develop these symptoms should stay at home. Take care to wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing nappies or before eating or preparing food. Toddlers and small children  need to be supervised to ensure they wash their hands thoroughly.“

Dr Duncan says parents should contact their doctor if they are worried and remember that young children with diarrhoea can become very unwell quickly. Any person who gets severe or bloody diarrhoea should see their GP.

Dr Duncan says the early childhood centre has been working closely with the Hauora Tairawhiti public health team. “The centre staff and management have been very helpful and responsible and worked very hard to keep the children well” he says.

More information about the symptoms and treatment of diarrhoea is available from Health Navigator. More information about shigella is on the Auckland Regional Public Health website.

To speak to a health professional, call Healthline 0800 611 116 for advice about health concerns for people of all ages, or PlunketLine  0800 933 922 for advice about health issues for children under five years. Both numbers are staffed 24 hours a day and calls are free and confidential