Acute Gastroenteritis Outbreaks Spread by Person to Person Contact

The Center for Disease Control has released its findings on the nature of acute gastroenteritis and the ways to prevent outbreaks in the winter months.

According to the Center for Disease Control, acute gastroenteritis (AGE), an illness with approximately 179 million cases nationwide each year, is transmitted by person-to-person contact. Following the implementation of National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS) in 2009, thousands of AGE cases were reportedly person-to-person spread. Previously in 1971 and 1973, AGE outbreaks were studied through waterborne and foodborne transmission, and no person-to-person contact transmission was reported.

Thus, the CDC has released information on how to prevent person-to-person AGE transmission, primarily through responsible hygiene habits and sequestering those ill with AGE. Following a study of the illness, NORS has released further information and statistics on the spread of AGE.

“During 2009–2010, a total of 2,259 person-to-person AGE outbreaks were reported in NORS from 42 states and the District of Columbia,” according to the CDC. “These outbreaks resulted in 81,491 reported illnesses, 1,339 hospitalizations, and 136 deaths.”

AEG, often connected to stomach or intestinal flus, displays symptoms of fever, vomiting, diarrhea. It lasts a few days and is more severe in the elderly and small children. Most of the cases examined in 2009 and 2010 occurred during the winter months, thus making prevention this time of year a top priority.

“Recommendations for prevention and control of person-to-person AGE outbreaks depend primarily on appropriate hand hygiene and isolation of ill persons,” said the CDC.

More information, including a holistic report of the CDC’s finding, is available on the agency’s website.

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