Cape Town - More than 7500 cases of diarrhoea in children younger than five were reported in November and December in the City of Cape Town, prompting a warning for parents to be vigilant.
The City of Cape Town has warned parents of increased diarrhoea cases, with more than 7500 cases of diarrhoea in children younger than five recorded in November and December.
The City’s health department has reminded parents to be on the alert as summer comes with an increased incidence of diarrhoea, which can lead to serious complications, particularly in young children. And the heat experienced of late is further cause for vigilance.
According to City data, 7 533 cases of diarrhoea were recorded in children younger than five at all health facilities in the metropole in November and December 2023, up from 5 370 reported cases over the same period the year before. This represents an increase of 40%.
“City Health ramps up education and awareness around diarrhoeal disease over the summer. The period between November and May is dubbed surge season, as it coincides with an increase in diarrhoeal disease,” the City said.
The City said young children were particularly vulnerable to dehydration associated with diarrhoea. If it is not treated promptly, it can be fatal.
“The statistics serve as a reminder of just how serious we all need to take surge season, especially with the prevailing high temperatures.
“At the first sign of diarrhoea, start using an oral rehydration solution immediately and seek medical help. Hand-washing and hygiene are always important, but they become even more critical in the warmer months to prevent the spread of germs. And we need to be cognisant of how we handle food because it can spoil a lot quicker in the heat.
“Let’s work together and keep surge season top of mind, particularly where our young children are concerned,” said the MMC for community services and health, Councillor Patricia van der Ross.