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Precautions over gastro outbreak

9 February 2006

Hospital still taking precautions over gastro outbreak

An outbreak of gastroenteritis (tummy bug) is still affecting some services at Tauranga Hospital.

New cases of the virus are slowing up, but the hospital is still taking precautions to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

Ward 3 has reopened after cleaning was completed yesterday.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board Infectious Disease Physician, Dr Brian Dwyer, says that no further cases have developed in Ward 5 and it will reopen when cleaning has been completed.

"Because of the extent of the required cleaning Ward 5 may not be able to take patients until Friday 10 February, but will be able to discharge and transfer patients from today," says Dr Dwyer.

Te Poutama Arawhiti (ATR or Ward 9 & 10) has experienced one new case of gastroenteritis since yesterday and is to remain closed to admissions and transfers as a safety measure.

The virus has affected both patients and staff at Tauranga Hospital, and wards have been closed to new admissions with discharges and transfers from these wards restricted to prevent outbreaks in rest homes and other hospitals and to limit the outbreak within the hospital.

"The public is reminded that norovirus is highly infectious, but control is best achieved by strict hand washing after using a toilet. Families are asked to avoid visiting the hospital if any of their immediate members have gastroenteritis," said Dr Dwyer.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Phil Shoemack, has requested that any rest homes with gastroenteritis advise the hospital prior to sending any patients to the hospital for admission and has undertaken that the hospital will do likewise.

Dr Shoemack says that people can avoid the bug and prevent passing it on by: * Washing and drying your hands before eating or preparing food and after going to the toilet.

* Staying away from others and taking extra hygiene precautions while any symptoms (eg diarrhoea, tummy pains/cramps, or while 'off your food') continue. * Not eating any raw shellfish.


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