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Gastro bug appears in retreat

Monday, November 3, 2008

Gastro bug appears in retreat but precautionary measures continue on campus

A few new cases of gastroenteritis have come to light this morning but staff are optimistic that infection levels from the bug that has affected 150 students at Massey’s Manawatu Campus are down in response to the measures put in place.

Regional Registrar Dr Sandi Shillington says new cases are students living in nearby Palmerston North, with no new illness in students living on campus in the halls of residence reported overnight or at the first clinic of the morning. Precautionary measures instituted in the halls on Friday will continue for at least the rest of the week however, including hand wipes and sanitisers and extra cleaning.

“The precautionary measures have also been extended to public areas around the University, including the library,” Dr Shillington says. “With gastroenteritis and outbreaks of this kind it is apparently possible to experience a second wave of illness once the initial one seems to have dissipated. Obviously we want to avoid this so we will continue with the additional measures until we are sure this risk has passed.”

The University is now in the second week of end-of-year exams, with the last exam scheduled to take place on Saturday 8 November. Ill students are being advised to use the Aegrotat process to allow them not to undertake exams. Students who have been unwell within the last 56 hours, but who wish to write exams are able to do so in a separate building, which is undergoing additional sanitising and cleaning measures.

Three extra medical clinics are being held on campus each day until Friday, at 8.30am, 11.30am and 4.30pm, at the PASS rooms behind YFC. Dr Shillington says that it is hoped to have the results of laboratory tests determining the nature of the outbreak later this week.

“In the meantime we will continue to take care of the unwell students and try to prevent further outbreaks,” Dr Shillington says. “I would like to acknowledge the effort put in by many staff members, including the Medical Centre team, Regional Facilities Management, Campus Living and Spotless staff. The Halls Community Group has continued to take care of students in the halls throughout the weekend, and exam supervisors and other exam staff have also continued to provide an excellent service despite the difficult circumstances.”

ENDS

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