by Linda Straker
- Gastroenteritis cases represent 82.7% growth within 2-week period
- Most affected districts are St George and St Andrew
- 25–44 age group most affected
Health authorities in Grenada have confirmed that the island is experiencing an outbreak of gastroenteritis as cases moved from 27 to 95 within a 2-week period.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Shawn Charles and National Surveillance Nurse Meryl McQueen have called on the public to take immediate personal action to curb the outbreak.
Ns McQueen explained that in epidemiological week number 26 of 2022, there were 27 cases of the illness, but for week 27, the numbers moved to 52 cases and now the data for week 28 showed 95 confirmed cases. Epidemiology week 26 covers the period 27 June to 3 July 2022, while week 28 is 11–17 July 2022.
A news release from the Government Information Service (GIS) said that the increase represents an 82.7% growth over the 2-week period. The ministry said that on average, the number of gastroenteritis cases that are expected at this time is 50.
“We have been monitoring the trend, and we can say that it has increased sharply from weeks 27 to 28. So, if people do not practice proper hygiene and take the necessary precautions, the numbers will continue to rise,” said Dr Charles.
He said that the health ministry has heightened its public health response, including its public education campaign, which is ongoing as it relates to proper hand hygiene and consumer food safety tips during the festive season as well as food safety training for street food vendors.
In addition, all health districts have stepped up surveillance and management of the illness. Nurse McQueen said there are no identified clusters by location, but the most affected districts are St George and St Andrew. The 25–44 age group is most affected, with 28 cases:
- < 12 months: 5 cases
- 1–4 years: 27 cases
- 5–14 years: 20 cases
- 15–24 years: 7 cases
- 45–65 years: 6 cases
- 65+ years: 2 cases
“Given the current upward trend in the data, health experts say they are anticipating an increased risk of people coming down with gastroenteritis in the coming days and weeks as the Carnival celebrations intensify,” said the release.
Gastroenteritis is a condition that causes irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated by a bacteria or virus or improper handwashing, especially after using the toilet.
Symptoms of gastroenteritis include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, upset stomach, and stomach cramps.