School takes precaution to counter Rotavirus

The Seventh Day Adventist Primary School has upped the ante amongst students in a bid to reduce the threat posed by the recently discovered rotavirus.

School Principal Mataina Su'a told the Samoa Observer that the school has decided to enforce hand sanitising rules to guard against the virus which mainly targets children.

She said her staff met on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the precautions that they would take, specifically targeting pupils in lower primary.

"We are enforcing hand sanitising and the use of soap to wash their hands every time, we will keep our eyes open for any child, who might have the symptoms so we can send them home before another student gets infected," she said.

"We are aware of the virus that is targeting the young ones so we are prioritising our primary lower grade level. 

“We will be conducting a staff meeting to go through all the measures that we need to take for this serious disease."

Sunday Samoan on Sunday revealed that there was a rotavirus outbreak which has already claimed the life of an infant.

The rotavirus symptoms include severe diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and fever which will last five to seven days. 

It is very contagious and spreads easily amongst children and infants by faecal oral route (hand to mouth) transmission, and is exacerbated by poor personal hygiene, sanitation, and contaminated water supply.

Attempts by the Samoa Observer to get comments from the Ministry of Health (MOH) last week on the outbreak were not successful.

However, the M.O.H. released a statement on Sunday confirming that there was an outbreak and said their laboratory testing and surveillance has unearthed 31 active cases of the rotavirus. 

The Ministry said most of the cases were reported in the Apia Urban Area and North West Upolu Area. 

"As of the 22nd of July, 2021 a total of 31 rotavirus cases have been confirmed by laboratory testing,” reads the M.O.H. statement.

“Further testing and investigations and contact tracing are ongoing to measure and trace the source of transmission and people affected."

The Ministry is also urging parents to vaccinate their children to prevent and protect them from the rotavirus outbreak.

"The first dose is given at 6 weeks; the second dose is given at 10 weeks. There is a minimum of four weeks interval between each dose and if delayed, the two doses should be completed by six months of age."

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