The Health Bureau (SSM) announced in a statement on Sunday that three collective gastroenteritis cases (also known as stomach flu) were recorded last week involving 19 patients from three nurseries. According to the statement, the first case involved 12 children from Crèche Caritas in Rua Marginal do Canal das Hortas. Seven boys and five girls, aged between two and three, came down with the illness. The first child started to feel unwell last Monday and the rest of the children started to have fevers, and experience stomachache and vomiting during the week. The statement said that the other case was at the Macau Women’s General Association’s Third Nursery in Estrada Marginal da Areia Preta, when three children and one teacher felt unwell. The statement noted that the patients are aged between two and 53, adding that they all started to show stomach flu symptoms on Wednesday. The Women’s General Association of Macau is commonly known as Fu Luen in Cantonese. The third case occurred at Crèche S. João (Taipa) in Avenida da Universidade. Four one-year-old children, two boys and two girls, felt unwell on Thursday and were diagnosed with gastroenteritis. The patients sought medical help and none of them were hospitalised. After investigation, the bureau assumed that none of the cases were related to food poisoning, adding that considering the time and symptoms, the bureau believed that the cause was a norovirus or rotavirus. However, the statement said that the bureau was still investigating the cases, while further testing was arranged for the children. Norovirus and rotavirus are common causes of stomach flu, are usually active during autumn and winter. The norovirus is highly contagious, especially in retirement homes and schools and through contaminated food or water, and has a 24 to 48 hour incubation period. The rotavirus is more common among children aged six months to two years, and the two kinds of viruses have similar symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach ache and fever, and can last for up to five days. The bureau urged people to be more aware of personal hygiene and not to attend work or school if they have symptoms of stomach flu. If there are any cases of collective stomach flu, please contact 2870 0800. (The Macau Post Daily/Macao News) Photo by Macau Photo Agency
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