Ashwood Park battles norovirus

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 10:32 30/05/2014

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An outbreak of norovirus bug has hit a Blenheim rest home.

The outbreak of the highly infectious vomiting and diarrhoea bug at Ashwood Park started on May 16.

Nelson Marlborough medical officer of health Ed Kiddle said the home had notified Public Health.

He could not provide figures of how many patients or staff were affected or if any of the patients had been treated in hospital.

The Marlborough Express contacted Ashwood Park but no one was available for comment at the time of going to press.

Kiddle said the home was making regular reports to Public Health. A new case had broken out this week in a separate section of the home, he understood.

The rest home would have to be clear of any new cases for 72 hours before the outbreak was considered over, Kiddle said.

Public Health had informed Wairau Hospital and Marlborough's St John Ambulance as part of infection control procedures.

Symptoms of norovirus included sudden onset of diarrhoea and/or vomiting, nausea, fever, abdominal cramps, muscle aches or headaches.

Norovirus is most severe in the elderly and babies.

"Rest homes have quite a lot of practice with this," Kiddle said.

"The standard response is for patients to be quarantined and restrictions around patients coming in and out. Visitor and staff movements would be restricted and cleaning and handwashing practices would be stepped up to minimise the spread of the virus."

Kiddle said in recent years cases of the virus had increased.

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- The Marlborough Express

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