UPDATE: More doctors called in to deal with gastro outbreak

A VIOLENT stomach bug is spreading across the Fraser Coast, infecting dozens of people in the past week.

The outbreak of gastroenteritis has inundated home doctors, and is putting a strain on the region's hospitals.

House Call Doctor's Assistant Clinical Director Dr Ryan Harvey said this particularly aggressive bug had been making people sick across the state.

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He said it appeared to be a far more virulent strain than in previous years, with a 15% increase in the number of people with gastroenteritis being admitted to hospitals.

"It is worse than what we have seen and causing worse illness," he said.

Dr Harvey reminds those affected to keep hydrated, particularly because of the potentially longer lasting suffering.

"Severity of symptoms and duration go hand in hand," he said.

"If you're vomiting for 72 hours instead of 24, you will be more dehydrated.

"In third world countries, it's this dehydration that comes after that's the big killer."

To try your best to avoid catching gastro, proper hygiene is the best step to take.

"Wash hands before and after meals, and the bathroom," Dr Harvey said.

"In hospitals, the gastro effected group of patience is actually isolated from the other patients to keep the virus from spreading."

However, the infectious nature of the virus means there are entire families sick in bed.

"If one member of the family gets it, it is quiet common for all members of the family to as well," Dr Harvey said.

"This is because they live in close quarters and share knifes and forks; it's sometimes unavoidable."

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House Call Doctor figures for the Fraser Coast show on average up to 20% of daily cases have been gastro-related in the past few weeks, with more than 30 patients treated with severe symptoms in the past week alone.

Kawungan pensioner Anne is one of the scores of people to be struck down with severe vomiting and gastro.

The 71-year-old widow's daughter Kelly Hanson said her mother had fallen so "violently ill" that she could not leave her home to see a doctor.

Gastro outbreak - Alex Haynes (Fraser Coast Area Manager) from House Call Doctor with patient Anne.
Gastro outbreak - Alex Haynes (Fraser Coast Area Manager) from House Call Doctor with patient Anne. Alistair Brightman

"She was in no fit state to drive so she rang [House Call Doctor], they turned up in just half an hour," Ms Hanson said.

"He supplied her with everything she needed to get through the night so she could see her GP (the next day)."

Dr Harvey said the best thing people could do was maintain good hand hygiene.

Anyone experiencing symptoms should keep hydrated with small amounts of fluid regularly, and see a doctor for medical attention if required.



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