BENGALURU: With schools reopening and many children stepping out of their homes after several months, Bengaluru is seeing an outbreak of 'stomach flu', also known as viral gastroenteritis. Doctors The New Indian Express spoke to say they are seeing at least 10 to 12 cases per day.
Stomach flu is a condition that affects the stomach and intestines. Symptoms can be mild or severe, and include stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting. It is an infectious condition and can occur as a cluster outbreak in close communities.
Dr Parimala V Thirumalesh, Professor & Senior Consultant, Neonatology & Paediatrics, Aster CMI Hospital says, "Stomach flu cases are on the rise. Many children are presenting with fever and vomiting, some have loose stools as well. They may or may not have an associated cold or cough."
Every day, the doctor is treating at least 12 such patients with varying severity, in the common age group of 1-8 years. "A few of them are under one year, and very few are over 8 years old," explained Dr Parimala.
While stomach bugs are usually bacterial and are common during the monsoon, doctors believe the unprecedented rain which caused flooding could have triggered this.
"Underground water supply lines and mixing of sewage and clean water can also cause this. For instance, there were outbreaks in some apartment societies in recent months, with many children suffering from the infection. Such outbreaks are common during the rainy months, with a daily average of 3-5 cases," said Dr Srikanth KP, Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterology, Manipal Hospitals, Old Airport Road.
Doctors explained that a majority recover uneventfully within three to five days, but few may take longer. Some require hospital admission, some have blood in their stools, while some may continue to have long-term problems like irritable bowel syndrome.