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Increase in gastrointestinal illness in Barbados

June 25, 2024

Members of the public are being urged to employ proper hand hygiene and exercise caution when purchasing ready-to-eat food items.

This as health officials are reporting an increase in gastrointestinal illness cases in adults and children, since late April.

They have also revealed a new virus has been identified among lab samples, called the rotavirus.

Rotavirus is a very contagious agent spread by contact with objects or persons contaminated with infected stool.

Previously identified bacterial foodborne pathogens were also identified.

Vomiting was a prominent symptom for many individuals affected by the virus.

According to the Ministry of Health, the uptick in cases in people older than five years moved from 34 at the end of April, to 76 cases in the week ending May 11, 2024.

Since then, although weekly numbers have been falling – most recently to 46 cases in the week ending June 15, 2024 – they remain above the alert threshold.

At this time of the year, the alert level for this age group is fewer than eight cases.

In children under five years old, the number of cases has moved from eight for the week ending April 27, to peaking at 27 cases in the week ending May 18, 2024.

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