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Alert as winter bug strikes across county

WARNING AND ADVICE: Dr Mathi Chandrakumar
WARNING AND ADVICE: Dr Mathi Chandrakumar

HEATH chiefs say an unusually high number of cases of gastric illness have been reported across Kent in recent weeks, affecting schools, nursing homes and hospitals.

The Health Protection Agency has issued an alert to try and curb the spread.

Dr Mathi Chandrakumar, director of the Kent Health Protection Unit, said: "The unit has received many reports of the viral gastroenteritis known as Norovirus or winter vomiting disease across Kent.

“It is an infection which spreads very easily from one person to another. People with this infection or who have been unwell with any symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting should stay home from school or work until symptoms subside and they should especially avoid visiting hospitals or nursing homes because patients and staff can easily become affected.”

The symptoms of Norovirus include feeling sick, vomiting and diarrhoea. The illness is brief, usually lasting between 24-72 hours and it affects people of all ages. Young children and the elderly are especially at risk.

Dr Chandrakumar added: “Individuals with Norovirus should stay at home and drink plenty of fluids. Good hygiene, especially careful hand washing, after using the toilet is essential.

"If the person has vomited, this needs to be cleaned up quickly and the area disinfected with diluted bleach, one part bleach to 10 parts water.

“Usually there is no need to seek medical attention. However, if there are other conditions or if the illness is very severe or lasts longer than two to three days, then consult your doctor in the usual way."

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