ANIMAL & ENVIRONMENTAL SCANNING

HEATH DEPARTMENT: ‘NO OUTBREAK OF ADENOVIRUS IN CAPE TOWN

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CAPE TOWN – An Independent Media staffer was one of hundreds of parents who received a post shared in various social media groups which warned about an alleged outbreak of Adenovirus at Montagu Drive Primary in Portlands, Mitchell’s Plain.

 
While the post spread quickly on social media, the Western Cape Health Department has responded via an article “What you need to know about Swine Flu and Adenovirus” on its website. After contacting the Health Department about the alleged outbreak, The Cape Argus was referred to the article which goes on to provide clarity surrounding the “outbreak”.
 
“The H1N1 virus and Adenoviruses are common viruses, and are also in circulation in South Africa. These are not notifiable diseases therefore we cannot confirm how many cases there are,” the department said. 
 
“The Department has received telephonic reports of cases and these are currently being followed up through our health facilities in addressing these and other communicable diseases as appropriate.”
 
The social media post urged parents to them to take their children to a doctor as soon as they start displaying symptoms.
 
According to the post: “Many of our children and the odd teacher have come down with the Adenovirus. It is a group of viruses that can affect the membrane of the respiratory tract, eyes, intestines, urinary tract and the nervous system.
 
“The virus is often accompanied with a high fever, diarrhoea and vomiting.”
 
The post goes on to say that should children display any of these symptoms they should be taken to the doctor or day hospital as hallucinations coupled with a high fever has also been reported.
 
A screenshot of the social media post alleging a outbreak of Adenovirus at a school in the Western Cape. Picture: Supplied
The department however said that Adenoviruses are a group of viruses known to cause a wide range of illnesses including a list of illness from the common cold, sore throat, bronchitis, fever, diarrhoea, pink eye, skin rashes, bladder infections, gastroenteritis, neurological diseases, and pneumonia. 
 
“Adenoviruses are mostly spread via the same routes as influenza viruses, and in addition may be spread through an infected person’s stool. The symptoms of adenoviral infection are similar to flu symptoms, and are generally less severe.
 
“The prevention and control measures are also the same as those described for influenza.”
 
The department said Swine flu and Adenovirus are common viruses and part of our seasonal flu’s. There was no outbreak of swine flu or Adenovirus, it said.
 
“We are currently busy with a vaccination drive and have administered 82 937 doses of flu vaccines to the high risk groups.
 
“Our call to school principals and parents is to familiarise themselves with the information provided. There is no need for concern as these viruses are part of the viruses in circulation.”
 
theolin.tembo@inl.co.za
 
Cape Argus
PHOTO: ALERT: A strain of flu known as Adenovirus has been alleged at Montagu Drive 
Primary in Mitchells Plain but the Western Cape Health Department says ‘don’t panic’

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