Parents warned of norovirus risk
Marlborough parents have been urged to be mindful of an outbreak of norovirus as children return to school.
Nelson Marlborough medical officer of health Ed Kiddle said norovirus was especially problematic in young people, in particular preschoolers.
Dr Kiddle reminded parents to keep their children out of school for 48 hours after the symptoms stopped.
Symptoms of norovirus include sudden onset of diarrhoea and/or vomiting, nausea, fever, abdominal cramps, muscle aches or headaches.
"With schools being back it is important not to send children to school when they are unwell," he said.
"One of the challenges of controlling its spread is to stop people going back to work or school for 48 hours after symptoms cease. That's quite a hard thing for people to do but there is a risk you will spread it, particularly in kids who are not the best at washing hands."
An outbreak of norovirus at Wairau Hospital in Blenheim was confirmed last Friday through results from laboratory tests.
Twenty hospital staff had been struck down by the bug since July 2.
Four patients had similar symptoms of gastroenteritis, vomiting and diarrhoea, but factors other than norovirus could have been the cause.
A health board spokesperson said patients were still presenting at the Wairau Hospital emergency department with norovirus symptoms.
"Clearly it's around with the hospital being affected," Dr Kiddle said. "Norovirus can spread quickly in hospital wards and preschool settings."
Norovirus could cause dehydration in young children which could lead to further health problems, he said.
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 going to the toilet or before handling food.
- The Marlborough Express