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Tauranga Hospital 'getting on top of gastro'

29 March 2006

Tauranga Hospital 'getting on top of gastro'

Tauranga Hospital is getting on top of each outbreak of gastroenteritis but the virus is still affecting some services, says Tauranga Hospital General Manager, Alan Wilson.

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

Ward Seven has reopened after extensive cleaning was completed earlier this week. However, Ward Five is now closed to prevent the spread of the stomach bug.

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.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board Infectious Diseases Specialist, Dr Brian Dwyer says that the public is reminded that norovirus is highly infectious, and control is best achieved by isolation while experiencing symptoms, followed by strict hand washing after using a toilet and again before preparing or serving food.

"Please wash your hands to prevent passing this bug on to your family members and your work colleagues," says Dr Dwyer.

"People in the community who have caught the virus should not return to work or school until they have been without symptoms for 48 hours to help prevent passing the bug on to others."

Since mid-February Tauranga Hospital's Emergency Department has seen an increased steady flow of people of all ages presenting with gastroenteritis, and has been managing the treatment of each patient carefully to avoid spreading the virus through the hospital.

The hospital is urging families with members who may have gastroenteritis to avoid visiting friends and family in hospital while symptoms persist. It has also requested that any rest homes and other facilities for the care of the elderly currently experiencing an outbreak should notify the hospital if they have patients for transfer.

Tauranga Hospital General Manager, Alan Wilson, says that patients will be accommodated in other wards in the interim, and patients from Ward Five will be discharged home in due course.

ENDS

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