But what does gastro mean? Outbreak hits University of Queensland students

I don’t know what it is about Australians, whether it’s some pseudo-inherited British culture of hierarchy, or just dumbness, but lately, any outbreak of barfing and pooping is called a gastro outbreak.

As in gastroenteritis.

There are microbiology labs in Australia, so figure it out, and let people know.

Janelle Miles of The Courier Mail reports 20 students at two University of Queensland residential colleges have fallen ill with gastroenteritis in the middle of orientation week.

The students are residents of King’s College and Grace College at UQ’s St Lucia campus in Brisbane’s west.

They have been quarantined separated from other students to avoid the infection spreading.

Was it foodborne? Are there any epidemiologists in Australia? Is anyone investigating?

1 dead, 60 sick: Gastro outbreak in Guyana

Kaieteur News reports that at least one person has died and 60 sick suffering from symptoms consistent with gastroenteritis. This is according to information filtered to the Ministry of Public Health to the Government Informationgastro Agency (GINA), which suggests that at least 60 individuals have sought care at the Baramita Health Centre manifesting symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea.

Dr-George-Norton-310x165It was in fact mounting cases of vomiting and diarrhoea that caused the Ministry to commence a close monitoring process of the indigenous locale.

The Region One area had an outbreak of gastro-enteritis infection in the past resulting in the deaths of a few children.

Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, on Thursday evening recalled, “Some years ago, right in Parliament here, Mr. (David) Granger moved a motion for an investigation on the Commission of Inquiry into deaths in the North West district, particularly the Port Kaituma area, of children dying of gastro-enteritis. For some reason or the other there (has) been a closing off of the media, in terms of providing the public with information about that situation.

“We want to do it differently. We want to be the first to let the media know that we are on top of the situation that has existed, not in Port Kaituma now, but in the village of Baramita,” Minister Norton said.

Baramita, which has a population of about 3,000 and 20 satellite villages, has one Health Center, which is manned by a Community Health Worker, a Medic and a Doctor.

But, according to Minister Norton, the situation is under control. He however noted that the issue is of great concern to the Ministry, and therefore a team of officials will be deployed to the area to educate the residents about the illness and measures they can take to avoid it.

But there are some challenges in accessing some of the satellite villages, Minister Norton has admitted since these areas are only accessible by All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).

Minister Norton also said that another challenge in addressing the outbreak has been found to be that “the population is not cooperating.”

“They don’t want to use the bleach in the water or the tablets that we’re using in the water because they said it tastes bad. Secondly, they’re not carrying through with the medications we’re giving them to use, and they are not all attending the clinics even though the clinics are there, available for them. So we’re running into some difficulties there. But the situation has improved from what it was from the beginning,” Minister Norton explained.

In 2013, there was an outbreak in the North West District area, where a total of 529 residents from Port Kaituma and surrounding communities were infected, most of whom were children. There were three reported deaths.  Prior to that, there was an outbreak in 2009 and six residents died.

Agencies investigating gastroenteritis outbreak in Maryland

The Harford County Health Department and the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene are investigating an outbreak of stomach issues, a spokesman said Sunday night.

“I can confirm a collaborative investigation between ourselves and the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene of what we believe at this time to be a restaurant-vomit.toiletassociated outbreak of gastroenteritis,” said Harford County Health Department spokesman William Wiseman. “However, pending lab results we expect back this week and our ongoing investigation, more specifics regarding the outbreak are currently unknown.”

Wiseman, in an email, said the organizations “are aware of an increase of gastroenteritis statewide.”

US deaths from gastroenteritis double; need better norovirus protection for elderly

The number of people who died from gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines that causes vomiting and diarrhea) more than doubled from 1999 to 2007, according to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings were presented today at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta.

CDC scientists used data from the National Center for Health Statistics to identify gastroenteritis-associated deaths from 1999 to 2007 among all age groups in the United States.
“Gastroenteritis is a major cause of death worldwide,” said lead author Aron Hall, D.V.M., M.S.P.H., of the CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases. “By knowing the causes of gastroenteritis-associated deaths and who’s at risk, we can develop better treatments and help health care providers prevent people from getting sick.”

Over the eight-year study period, gastroenteritis-associated deaths from all causes increased from nearly 7,000 to more than 17,000 per year. Adults over 65 years old accounted for 83 percent of deaths. Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) and norovirus were the most common infectious causes of gastroenteritis-associated deaths.

Norovirus was associated with about 800 deaths annually, though there were 50 percent more deaths in years when epidemics were caused by new strains of the virus. Norovirus is highly contagious. It spreads through person-to-person contact and contaminated food, water, and surfaces. People can get norovirus illness throughout the year, but cases peaked between December-February. Norovirus causes more than 20 million illnesses annually, and it is the leading cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in the United States.

“While C. difficile continues to be the leading contributor to gastroenteritis-associated deaths, this study shows for the first time that norovirus is likely the second leading infectious cause,” said Hall. “Our findings highlight the need for effective measures to prevent, diagnose, and manage gastroenteritis, especially for C. difficile and norovirus among the elderly.”