Norovirus hits hospital

Last updated 05:00 06/02/2014

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A Norovirus alert has been issued at Middlemore Hospital after several patients were infected.

The stomach bug causes cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.

At the beginning of this week 11 patients and three staff had been affected by the virus.

Patients with the bug were admitted to the hospital from the community and then the virus spread to others, a hospital spokeswoman says.

Middlemore staff are now asking that only well patients should visit the hospital. They must show no symptoms of illness and have been symptom-free for at least two days, she says.

Visitors to affected wards could be asked to wear gloves and gowns before entering.

And children should be kept away from the hospital during a norovirus alert, the spokeswoman says.

Visitors will be asked to rigorously wash their hands with soap and water before and after visiting. Hand gel is not effective for gastroenteritis but continues to provide protection for other hand hygiene measures.

People in the community should also hand wash with soap and water directly after going to the toilet and before preparing food as that helps to stop the spread of infection.

Anyone who is unwell should drink plenty of fluids and avoid contact with infants, the elderly or those with longterm illness until they are symptom-free for at least 24 hours.

They should contact their GP if symptoms are severe.

Go to Auckland Regional Public Health website arphs.govt.nz for information.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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