Australia gears up for gastro epidemic to sweep nation
Posted: August 27th, 2007 - 9:49am by Brae SurgeonerWhile Doug sits patiently on a plane bound for Australia, the Age reports today that a virulent strain of gastroenteritis is expected to infect tens of thousands of Australians in the coming months.
Viral experts are cited as saying the outbreak of highly infectious norovirus will cause a second wave of sick leave on the back of the current influenza epidemic.
This year's strain, which has already spread through Europe, is more contagious than last year's gastro bug, and has already been linked to outbreaks and visitor bans at some hospitals in Queensland, Adelaide and NSW.
Virologist Peter White, from the University of NSW, is quoted as saying, "We are seeing a wave of multiple outbreaks that is already spreading across Australia."
The virus is expected to hit hardest in crowded environments like childcare centres, nursing homes and hospitals, Dr White was further cited as saying.
Public health experts are said to be puzzled by the random periodic emergence of new strains which cause rapid-fire outbreaks before suddenly vanishing again.