A viral gastroenteritis outbreak has been identified within Whangarei Hospital’s Ward One.
The outbreak, likely norovirus, has affected 11 patients –who have been isolated to prevent other patients being infected. As a further precaution, the ward has been closed to new admissions and visiting is restricted and will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances over the weekend.
Dr David Hammer, Clinical Microbiologist, said that norovirus is currently widespread in the community and urged members of the public with any gastroenteritis-like symptoms not to visit patients in hospital.
“We are asking members of the public – if you are unwell or have been around people who have been unwell – please do not visit the hospital for at least 48 hours.”
Strict infection control measures are in place to reduce the risk for other patients within the hospital.
Norovirus symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pains and feeling like throwing up.
Norovirus is normally only a mild to moderate illness but the elderly and the very young can have more serious disease. People with symptoms of gastroenteritis are advised to stay away from other people and phone their family doctor if the symptoms are severe or the illness does not get better after two days.