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Norovirus prompts strict infection control measures at Hawke’s Bay Hospital

In Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, strict infection control measures are in place in some wards of the hospital to prevent the spread of Norovirus, a highly contagious vomiting and diarrhea bug.

Norovirus/CDC

Chief Medical and Dental Officer John Gommans said Norovirus was circulating in the community.  Patients, with the bug, had been admitted to hospital, and some hospital staff were also affected.

Visitors to hospital are reminded that they should stay away from visiting family or friends in hospital if they are sick. “If you are unwell with vomiting and diarrhea or have been around people who have been unwell – please do not visit the hospital for at least 48 hours,” he said.

People visiting Hawke’s Bay Hospital may also find that some wards were closed to new admissions and visiting would be restricted and only allowed in exceptional circumstances to some areas of the hospital.

“The infection control measure we have put in place should contain any spread through the hospital, but as it is highly contagious we are being very vigilant, and will isolate other areas of the hospital to visitors if we have to,” Dr Gommans said.

Medical Officer of Health Nick Jones said it is likely the bug is circulating in the community. “To help prevent the spread of the virus it was very important for anyone with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps to stay away from work for 48 hours after symptoms disappear. Sick children should also be kept away from school for the same period of time,” he said.

If symptoms don’t get better, or if people are becoming dehydrated they should seek medical attention. However it is important to phone ahead to your general practice clinic for advice, if you become concerned.

Dr Jones said anyone attending the Hawke’s Bay show this week, should also be mindful Norovirus was circulating and wash hands thoroughly before eating food, and be very thorough with hand washing after using public toilets.

Good hand cleaning; washing hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, before drying thoroughly helped prevent spreading the bug to someone else.

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