Parents need to pay extra attention to their children during this summer or the remainder of the summer as doctors are seeing a spike in the number of patients suffering diarrhea. According to Pediatrician Doctor Kent Novelo, he has noticed that many of his patients have presented the symptoms of the rotavirus, one of the most common causes of diarrhea and severe infection is the leading cause of severe, dehydrating diarrhea in infants and young children.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-05_at_7.52.24_PMDr. Kent Novelo – Pediatrician

“For the past few weeks we have been seeing an increase in the incidents of diarrhea and this of course is accompanied with vomiting and fever and cramps and it has been localized in certain areas of the district initially started on the southern part of Orange Walk but heard right now that is in town even and even in the Corozal district we have seen some so there is a spike in the number of patients consulting for diarrhea and vomiting.”

Dr. Novelo spoke on the basis of his experience at the Northern Medical Specialty Plaza clinic in Orange Walk Town. While there have not been any concrete testing done he believes the infections are because of the rotavirus.

Dr. Kent NOvelo – Pediatrician

“Unfortunately, we don’t have the testing capacity we don’t routinely test for viruses but just from a statistical point of view I can tell you that the rotavirus is the most common cause for infectious diarrhea so the suspect here is rotavirus and I say suspect because we haven’t confirmed that. I’m talking about my personal experience but of course we have contact with other pediatricians and I know for a fact that they are also seeing in the public sector and increase of consultation for diarrhea and vomiting so it is not just here in the private but also in the public sector.”

Given the situation, we asked Novelo if the situation is worrying the health sector.

Dr. Kent Novelo – Pediatrician

“Well, yeah I wouldn’t call it an outbreak and I wouldn’t be able to give you the specific numbers but definitely is a higher peak in the number of patients I am seeing for diarrhea and vomiting but in terms of concern public concern I wouldn’t take it as it is out of control as a matter of fact to put it in a nut shell the rotavirus infection for most of the diarrhea tend to be self-limited which means within three, four day or perhaps up to a week it tends to subside.”

The virus, it appears, is not only affecting children as adults have indicated that they have also experienced the symptoms attributed to the rotavirus.

Dr. Kent Novelo – Pediatrician

“Kids come with their parents and it usually when I ask they tell me oh there was an adult at home who had it or has also so I feel safe in generalizing in saying that it is affecting both kids and adults but of course the rotavirus tends to affect more the kids so that in itself would give us a disproportionate number but bottom line is even adults can catch it and I am sure because I am seeing parents with diarrhea and I am sure it is attacking the adult population also.”

The rotavirus is a germ that enters the body through the mouth and thrives in the stomach and intestines of humans. This is why it affects mostly children of all ages, therefore doctors insist that hand hygiene is key in the prevention of the spread of the virus.

Dr. Kent Novelo – Pediatrician

“Hand hygiene is perhaps the most important single factor that we can use to prevent transmission if it doesn’t get into your mouth you won’t catch the virus it is that simple really you know teaching kids not to be putting toys and other stuff into their mouths that goes a long way and in terms of prevention I would perhaps focus more in preventing dehydration and by that I mean having your oral dehydration like the pedialyte and so on and as soon as the baby begins to have diarrhea and vomiting it is essential and very important for you as a parent to be giving little zips of these solutions to your baby. Antibiotics do not work for the rotavirus because it is a virus when you use antibiotics you make thing even worst because you actually create resistance to the antibiotic but there is one observation here no bacteria has created resistance to soap and water meaning is a cheap and effective means of cutting that chain of transmission, wash your hands with soap and water it works.”

There are five types of the virus says Dr. Kent. These are harbored in the human intestines and it is perhaps the single most common cause of infectious diarrhea but is not the only one. Certain conditions in the human intestines are favorable to the virus but if one’s immune system is strong enough, the body can resist its effects but if it is not, transmission becomes easy. According to medical reports, diarrhea caused by rotavirus causes more than half a million deaths worldwide every year. 

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