Outbreak restricts access to ward

19:50, May 18 2014

A highly contagious outbreak of gastroenteritis at Palmerston North Hospital has forced staff to restrict access to a medical ward.

MidCentral District Health Board yesterday announced admission to ward 26 was restricted, and all transfers to other wards, or discharges to residential care facilities had been stopped until further notice.

Patients were able to be discharged home.

It is the second gastroenteritis outbreak in the district this year.

Medical officer of health Dr Rob Weir said the rapid increase in cases in ward 26 suggests the organism causing this outbreak is highly infectious.

"There have also been more gastroenteritis outbreaks than normal in the community this year," he said. "A lot of these outbreaks have been due to norovirus, which is a highly infectious organism.

"It is for these reasons that I would advise against visiting the ward unless absolutely necessary."

In March, MidCentral's Public Health Services were made aware of six cases of gastroenteritis in rest homes and early childhood education centres.

The outbreak then spread to Palmerston North Hospital where more than 60 people, including staff and patients, were affected.


Manawatu Standard