Virus hits region
An outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting in Marlborough could be norovirus, says Nelson Marlborough medical officer of health Ed Kiddle.
People with symptoms should stay home to stop the virus spreading, Dr Kiddle said.
Symptoms also include nausea, abdominal and muscle pain, headaches and fever.
Yesterday, four patients presented at Wairau Hospital's emergency department in Blenheim with diarrhoea and vomiting, he said. Three hospital staff had similar symptoms in the past 24 hours with one patient the day before.
"For most people the illness is a nuisance, however, norovirus can be more severe for the very young, elderly, or people with long-term medical conditions."
Norovirus was very infectious and spread through direct contact with a sick person, eating contaminated food or by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth.
The illness normally lasted one to two days but people were still infectious with norovirus until 48 hours after their symptoms stop.
"If you are sick with diarrhoea or vomiting, you should stay away from child centres, school or work," Dr Kiddle said.
"It is also important to not visit rest homes, hospitals, or be out in large groups of people whilst you have symptoms and for 48 hours after the symptoms stop."
Although there was no specific treatment for norovirus, it was important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, he said.
"Signs of dehydration can include a dry mouth and tongue, sunken eyes, cold hands and feet, and unusual sleepiness or lack of energy."
The best way to avoid infection and to prevent passing the virus on was to thoroughly wash and dry your hands, he said.
This was particularly important after using the toilet or before handling food.
Anyone concerned about their health or a family member should call Healthline on 0800 611 116.
- The Marlborough Express