Western Australia has recorded an alarming surge in gastro cases over the summer, with the spread of rotavirus “spiking dramatically” in the latter half of 2021.
544 cases of rotavirus were detected in the Perth metro area, compared to 175 the year before. Group chair of the WA branch of the Australian Medical Association, Simon Torvaldson, says the outbreak could have spread much further than case numbers suggest.
A total of 163 rotavirus cases were recorded in November alone, dwarfing the 18 detected cases for the same month in 2020.
Norovirus was the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis, with symptoms including a quick onset of nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea that lasts 2-3 days.
Other symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, headaches and muscle aches.
“A lot of people with milder gastro will simply tough it out without seeing a doctor,” he told ABC Radio.
“And to be honest, other than helping you with the symptoms and making sure you stay as hydrated as possible, there is little that doctors can do.”
The new data came after another noted spike in viral gastroenteritis cases in Victorian childcare centres in late 2021.
Cases surged over the eight-month period leading up to October, with the number of outbreaks climbing to more than three times higher than the average for the same period in past years.
Data obtained by NCA NewsWire shows there have been 554 outbreaks in childcare centres from January 1 this year up until August 23.