Gastro Break Out

South Burnett & Darling Downs

Gastro Break Out

There has been a Gastro outbreak across the South Burnett and Darling Downs affecting several businesses.

The outbreak has hit both child care centre and age care facilities.

Darling Downs Public Health Unit Director Dr Penny Hutchinson said there had been increased reports of gastroenteritis outbreaks across the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service area.

"Norovirus is the most common form of viral gastroenteritis. It is not a notifiable disease so there is no data available on the number of cases,” Dr Hutchinson said.

"Norovirus is a highly contagious illness that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. Norovirus is more common during winter and outbreaks occur regularly.

"In most cases it is not serious and people recover quickly within a couple of days.”

Symptoms of norovirus illness typically present for between 24 to 48 hours, but they can appear as early as 12 hours after exposure.

Symptoms usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people also have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness.

"Anyone experiencing these symptoms should stay home from work, school or child care for at least 48 hours and keep hydrated,” Dr Hutchinson said.

"People with gastroenteritis should not visit people in aged care facilities or visit aged care centres during a norovirus outbreak.


Some steps to help decrease your chances of contracting norovirus are:

  • Frequently wash your hands – especially when handling food, going to the toilet and changing nappies
  • Carefully wash all fruit and vegetables
  • Steam oysters before eating them
  • Flush or discard any vomitus or faeces in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately
  • Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with virus (use hot water and soap)
  • Only visit your GP if you feel particularly unwell, otherwise it's best to stay out of GP practices


Source: South Burnett Times