Norovirus keeps hospital wards shut

MARIKA HILL
Last updated 15:12 30/10/2012
Auckland City Hospital

OUTBREAK: Staff are working to stop the spread of norovirus at Auckland City Hospital.

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A norovirus outbreak at Auckland City Hospital is easing, but two wards remain in isolation to stop the stomach bug spreading.

Auckland District Health Board spokesman Matt Rogers said the number of people infected with norovirus had dropped from 33 to 15 elderly patients since Friday.

"The numbers are reducing now, showing our infection control processes are taking effect."

As of this afternoon, nine of the 15 patients in isolation were still showing symptoms of the virus, he said.

Norovirus spreads easily and causes severe stomach upset, resulting in diarrhoea or vomiting.

The virus is particularly dangerous to the elderly or those who are already in a fragile condition.

On Friday, Auckland City Hospital enforced infection control measures to prevent the spread of the virus to patients and staff.

Three wards were closed to admissions, but one of those has since reopened.

Families have been warned that visiting patients who had symptoms would be limited.

The virus also hit Bay of Plenty and Counties Manukau hospitals last month.

More than 100 staff and patients were diagnosed with norovirus during the outbreak at Middlemore Hospital, which closed down wards.

In Tauranga, about 30 hospital patients were said to have contracted the virus.

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