Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 23, 2023 (Ministry of Health): Over the past several weeks, several children and adults have been diagnosed with and treated for gastroenteritis (GE) in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Gastroenteritis is a medical condition marked by irritation or inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, in particular the stomach and small intestines. This condition can affect anyone – be it a child or an adult.
Gastroenteritis is typically caused by a germ or pathogen. The most common cause is a virus, but it can also be triggered by bacteria.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of GE include sudden onset of diarrhoea with three or more loose or watery stools in a day.
These symptoms can occur with or without abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, and fever.
Dehydration can result if there is continued loss of body fluids/water through vomiting and diarrhoea leading to excess fluid loss compared to intake (drinking).
Dehydration is marked by increased thirst, dry mouth, weakness, sluggishness, dizziness, inability to sweat, decreased urine output and sometimes fainting.
Please note that children who are affected by GE can become dehydrated quickly. Parents are advised to monitor affected children very closely and seek medical care urgently:
If your child is under the age of 2 years, regardless of the symptoms.
If your child is older than 2 years and has one of the following symptoms:
Persistent or worsening abdominal pain
Fever lasting for more than 48 hours
Frequent vomiting for 4 to 6 hours despite administering small amounts of fluids.
Frequent and abundant diarrhea lasting for more than 7 days
Frequent diarrhea if the child is under 6 months
Worsening of the child’s general health
You should take your child straight to emergency if they have one of the following symptoms: