Gastroenteritis outbreak confirmed as Norovirus
Friday, 17 October 2008
Cause of gastroenteritis outbreak confirmed as Norovirus
Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) can confirm that test results show Norovirus is the cause of a recent outbreak of illness in the hospital section of a retirement home in Auckland.
ARPHS Clinical Director, Dr Julia Peters confirmed today that from the onset of the outbreak precautionary measures were taken, and Norovirus protocols were strictly followed at the retirement home.
We are working closely with the staff and they are to be commended for their prompt actions in following advice and protocol. Early measures were put in place to control the spread and we are closely monitoring the situation and providing advice and support.
Most cases appear to be improving and while two potential new cases have been notified this is not unusual during the course of an outbreak. Symptoms can be mild but can be severe in vulnerable and elderly people. Symptoms usually last from 12 to 72 hours, but some people may be unwell for longer. Sometimes infected people have no symptoms.
Dr Peters said it was important that those with family at the retirement home follow the advice from management during the outbreak.
Norovirus is a common cause of gastroenteritis (24 hour tummy upset). It is easily spread when people eat food or drink fluids contaminated with the virus. Proper hand hygiene (thorough washing + drying) is critical as infection can be transmitted from improperly cleaned hands to food, drink or environmental surfaces.
For the facts about Norovirus go to: http://www.arphs.govt.nz/notifiable/downloads/Norovirus1.pdf