Childhood centre hit by norovirus

EMMA BEER
Last updated 14:06 07/12/2012

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A recent infection outbreak at an early childhood centre in Nelson has been confirmed as norovirus, and further outbreaks are being investigated.

Medical officer of health Dr Jill Sherwood said there had been a significant number of outbreaks they were aware of in the community that were being followed up. The one at the early childhood centre had been confirmed as norovirus.

Norovirus spreads easily and causes severe stomach upset, resulting in diarrhoea or vomiting.

Public health was aware of 24 children from the childhood centre who had been affected by the virus, but it was possible that family members had also been affected.

"The sample we took was positive for norovirus. It's useful for us to know that that's what is circulating."

An infection control spokesperson said yesterday some hospital staff had been sent home, or stayed home, this week with suspected stomach illnesses.

"There is no suggestion of a norovirus outbreak and we are ensuring our staff are well informed as a precaution. We have not requested laboratory testing as this takes some time to confirm and would not alter how infection control manages the situation."

There have not been any outbreaks of norovirus in Nelson or Wairau Hospitals since 2007.

Dr Sherwood said the advice was still the same - those who suspected they were ill should stay at home, ideally for 48 hours, after symptoms had resolved.

Washing hands with warm water and soap was still the best way to help ward off viruses, she said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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