GASTRO is spreading quickly across childcare centres and early childhood education services four times more than usual.
There have been 389 outbreaks in childcare so far in 2021, up by more than 140 more incidents on the annual April average.
Victoria's communicable disease executive director Bruce Bolam said childcare workers, children and their families all had a role to play in limiting the spread of the virus.
"Gastroenteritis can spread quickly through settings such as early childhood education and care services, where children play and interact closely with each other and can readily spread their bugs," Dr Bolam said.
"It is important that early childhood services have good hygiene practices in place and to respond quickly with thorough cleaning if any children become ill."
Bendigo and Macedon has recorded three cases since the beginning of the year with the Mount Alexander Shire recording two.
As school heads back, keep an eye out for gastro symptoms:— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) April 18, 2021
Keep children home for 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped. If symptoms persist, visit your GP.
Learn more: https://t.co/zM9Vvufwsgpic.twitter.com/C5T2LlgLg4
Bendigo Preschool teacher Lisa Claxton said it was important for services to promote healthy practices such as handwashing and social distancing.
"Teachers are working hard at maintaining good hygiene practices and putting those into place with the children," she said.
"As soon as our children arrive, they go straight into the bathroom and wash their hands with soap and water and they know to do so for 20 seconds.
"We often hear the kids singing Happy Birthday or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star loudly.
"They know that washing your hands is important to eliminate germs."
Ms Claxton said although gastro outbreaks were not a regular occurrence, when it did occur it could be easily transmitted.
"We have to be super careful," she said.
"We are just trying to promote and get those healthy practices into the children and they have been the most important thing for all teachers especially combating COVID-19."
Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, abdominal pain, headache and muscle aches and can take up to three days to develop and usually last between one or two days, sometimes longer.
Dr Bolam said anyone recovering from gastroenteritis should avoid visiting hospitals and early childhood centres.
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