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Day care babies catch stomach bugs earlier

Day care babies catch stomach bugs earlier


ISLAMABAD: Babies in day care catch their first stomach bug earlier than home based infants but end up getting fewer of these gastrointestinal illnesses during their preschool years, new research suggests.

Analyzing a group of more than 2,200 children, 83 percent of who attended day care before age 1; Dutch scientists found a 13 percent higher rate of so called acute gastroenteritis or stomach flu in day care children in their first two years.

Later on however day care kids seemed to enjoy a protective effect from their early virus exposure and suffered fewer stomach bugs from ages 3to 6 years than peers who hadn’t attended day care Medline plus reported.

Day care does influence the timing of [gastroenteritis] but does not increase its overall burden, said study author Marieke de Hoog, a postdoctoral researcher in public health epidemiology at University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands.

It’s even possible that the protective effect persists beyond 6 years of age, she added.

However more research is needed to support that. Typically involving vomiting and or diarrhea stomach bugs usually aren’t dangerous.

But gastroenteritis accounts for about 300 deaths in children under age 5 in the United States and more than 1.5 million outpatient medical visits each year according to research.

Nearly one quarter of American children under age 5 attend some type of organized child care including day care centers and nursery schools, according to the Center for American Progress an independent policy institute.

Led by de Hoog, researchers examined data from a large group of children under age 6 in the Netherlands between 2001 and 2012. They found that first year day care attendees suffered a higher rate of stomach viruses in their first two years but lower rates from ages 3 to 6 than children cared for at home.

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