Update, Thursday 11.19am: MORE than 10 times the usual number of cases of a particular type of gastro have been recorded in Greater Bendigo.
The health department has been notified of 53 cases of cryptosporidiosis in the year to date.
The local government area's average for the past five years has been five cases, between January and April.
Cryptosporidiosis is caused by cryptosporidium parasites.
The infection can be spread through person-to-person contact, animal-to-person contact, or ingesting contaminated food or water.
More than 100 reportable cases of gastro have been recorded in Greater Bendigo in the calendar year to date - a 50 per cent increase on the previous comparable period.
It is not yet known why there has been such an increase in gastro cases in the region.
A common source of illness has not been found.
The council has reminded people to practice good personal hygiene and to reconsider going swimming for two weeks after a bout of gastro.
The Department of Health and Human Services has reiterated the city's advice.
"Even in the best maintained pools, germs on your body can wash off and contaminate the water," a spokesperson said.
"Everyone has a responsibility to keep themselves and others safe and healthy and help keep pools clean and free of germs."
EARLIER: THE City of Greater Bendigo has reminded people with gastro to practice good personal hygiene after a 50 per cent increase in severe cases.
More than 100 reportable cases of gastro have been recorded in the local government area in the calendar year to date, according to the council.
The increase was reported in the calendar year to date, compared with the same period the year prior.
Medical practitioners are required to notify the Department of Health of a number of conditions, some of which are associated with gastroenteritis, such as campylobacter infection and cryptosporidiosis.
Gastro is highly contagious and can easily be spread from person to person and through settings such as hospitals, aged care facilities, child care centres and swimming pools.
The Bendigo Advertiser was told there was no single source linking the severe cases reported.
The city reminded people to allow at least two days to pass before returning to work, school or child care after a bout of gastro.
A two week break was recommended for those considering going swimming.
Greater Bendigo safe and healthy environments manager Caroline Grylls said the community played an important role in helping to limit the spread of gastro.
"If you have symptoms of gastro it is important to stay at home while you recover," she said.
"While the city's swimming pools are chemically treated to kill bacteria if you or a family member has been unwell you should not use public pools for 14 days after diarrhoea stops to avoid spreading any illness.
"We are asking residents to follow these simple rules to keep our local swimming pools clean and our community members healthy."
She said thorough hand washing was key to preventing the further spread of gastro.
Key times to wash hands included before eating, after going to the toilet, after handling pets, and changing nappies.
The city issued the following tips specific to the use of its pools:
- Do not swim if you have diarrhoea and do not swim for 14 days after diarrhoea stops.
- Shower and wash with soap, especially your bottom, before you start swimming.
- Wash your hands with soap after using the toilet or changing a nappy.
- Change nappies in the nappy change areas only.
- Avoid swallowing pool water.
Bendigo Health has not noted an increase in gastro-related inpatient cases.
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