St. Lucia records increase in gastro cases

St. Lucia is recording an increase in the number of cases of gastroenteritis over the last few weeks.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness did not disclose the number of recorded cases, but said acute gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and the intestines and may be caused by viruses, bacteria, and parasites among others.

“Gastroenteritis is spread by direct contact with an infected person, by consuming contaminated food or water or by touching contaminated surfaces then putting your unwashed hands into your mouth.

“Persons presenting with gastroenteritis may experience diarrhea and/or vomiting which may be accompanied by stomach pain and fever.

In most cases, gastroenteritis presents as a self-limiting illness, however children and the elderly are most susceptible to complications such as dehydration and should therefore be monitored closely,” the Ministry said.

“The Department of Health and Wellness continues to put measures in place to monitor and address the increasing cases of gastroenteritis.

Transmission can be minimized if persons practice good hand hygiene,” the Ministry said, noting that spread of gastroenteritis can be minimized by taking various steps including washing hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, especially after vomiting or after a bowel movement and before meals.