'Gastro' epidemic hits France as sickness and diarrhoea strikes most of country

Ben McPartland
Ben McPartland - [email protected]
'Gastro' epidemic hits France as sickness and diarrhoea strikes most of country
Photo: AFP/Sentinelles

The "gastro" season has well and truly taken hold across most of France at the start of the New Year, but a few parts of the country seem to be free from stomach flu virus.


The number of people struck down with gastroenteritis in France continues to rise with most parts of the country affected by the spread of the stomach flu virus, known in French just as "gastro".

Since the New Year the number of patients consulting a doctor for acute diarrhoea or sickness continues to rise.

The regions most affected by the virus are Nouvelle-Aquitaine in the south west, Grand Est in the north east and the Pays de la Loire in the west. But on the whole no region has really been spared.

However as the map below there are certain lucky small parts of the country that appear to be free from the virus including southern Corsica, an area in the east around Belfort and Montbelliard bordering Switzerland as well as a small area in the centre of the country around Bourges and the town of Nevers.

Normandy appears to be the region least affected as whole.

The organisation Sentinelles, which keeps tabs on outbreaks of viruses in France says the number of cases of "gastro" is high compared to recent years, but normal for the winter season.


In total some 215,000 French people were struck down with the highly contagious virus between December 30th and January 5th, a small proportion of whom had to receive hospital treatment.

And unlike flu it's not just older people who are susceptible to being struck down by the virus.

Patients treated range from age two to 100, with the average age being 36 years old.

To avoid falling victim to the virus members of the public are advised to wash their hands regularly, especially after visiting the toilet.

The illness normally lasts for between 24 and 72 hours. Anyone struck down by acute sickness and diarrhoea is advised to stay well hydrated.



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