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Diarrhoea cases down from previous years<p>​​The City of Cape Town is cautiously optimistic about the drop in the number of diarrhoea cases reported in children under the age of five. ​</p><div>Between November and May, there is a surge in the incidence of diarrhoea as the warmer weather promotes the spread of germs. Young children are particularly vulnerable, in spite of the fact that diarrhoea is both preventable and treatable. </div><div><br></div><div>Indications thus far are that there has been a fairly sizeable drop in the number of cases reported in the first 10 weeks of the season, compared with the same period in the previous season, as outlined below:<br><br></div><div><span><figure class="figure-credits left"><img src="" alt="placeholder" class="responsive" style="width:447px;" /><figcaption> <p>© City of Cape Town</p> </figcaption> </figure> <p></p></span>‘It is too early to say with any level of certainty what is causing the lower caseload, but we welcome it nonetheless. However, there’s a long way to go and with temperatures expected to soar in the next two months, we cannot afford to let our guard down. Washing one’s hands is probably the simplest way to prevent the spread of germs. Boosting a child’s immune system is the next best measure of protection, so I appeal to parents and caregivers to seek advice from their local clinic about the benefits of breastfeeding and Vitamin A supplementation in particular,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith. <div><br></div><div>The lower caseload has been tempered by the death of five children in the last two months – four in December in the Khayelitsha, Klipfontein, Southern and Northern health districts, and one in January recorded in the Tygerberg district. </div><div><br></div><div>‘While the number of fatalities has dropped significantly, it remains a bitter pill to swallow that we are losing children in this manner. Our first priority is to prevent diarrhoea in children. The second is to ensure that cases are dealt with appropriately to eliminate the risk of dehydration, which is what causes children to die. So, if your child contracts diarrhea, seek help at your local clinic immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry,’ added Alderman Smith.</div><div><br></div><div>Symptoms of dehydration in children include passing little urine, a dry mouth, a dry tongue and lips, fewer tears when crying, sunken eyes, weakness, and being irritable or lethargic. Symptoms of severe dehydration include drowsiness, pale or mottled skin, cold hands or feet, very few wet nappies and fast, shallow breathing. </div><div><br></div><div>The City and its partners have devised an all-encompassing plan in recent years to continue reducing the number of people affected by diarrhoea – in particular fatalities among young children. This includes:</div><div><ul><li>Providing Vitamin A supplements to children every six months to prevent diarrhoea<br></li><li>Giving zinc supplements to children with diarrhoea to reduce the frequency and duration of diarrhoea <br></li><li>Training clinic staff, particularly in emergency rehydration<br></li><li>Having well-functioning oral rehydration solution corners in our clinics<br></li><li>Fast-tracking diarrhoea cases to ensure timeous treatment<br></li><li>Running all-day awareness and education programmes for the clients visiting clinics<br></li><li>mproving coverage of the Rotavirus vaccine <br></li><li>Taking public awareness campaigns to clinics and schools <br></li><li>Training community workers, volunteers, Early Childhood Development staff, and informal food vendors about health and hygiene matters<br></li><li>Educating traditional healers about the symptoms and dangers of diarrhoea and the administration of the oral rehydration solution mixture of water, sugar and kitchen salt<br></li><li>Providing general practitioners and pharmacies with a standard information package containing the local arrangements and emergency numbers to fast-track referrals during diarrhoea season<br></li><li>Encouraging exclusive breastfeeding, which is one of the most important measures to prevent diarrhoea in young children<br></li><li>Ensuring that hospitals are on high alert and have a plan should there be an increase in the number of cases requiring admission<br></li></ul></div><div><br></div><div><strong>End</strong></div><div><br></div><br></div><div><br></div>2017-01-24T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#e42bd0d2-6fd6-4126-805b-437fba7d2201;L0|#0e42bd0d2-6fd6-4126-805b-437fba7d2201|Diarrhoea;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#3eb252b9-e091-4505-a46a-b6295fa65c8a;L0|#03eb252b9-e091-4505-a46a-b6295fa65c8a|Early Childhood Development;GP0|#34636d43-f5d8-4d08-9b35-9c6ead03363b;L0|#034636d43-f5d8-4d08-9b35-9c6ead03363b|Statistics1

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