The rest home at New Plymouth's Jean Sandel Retirement Village is in lockdown after an outbreak of gastroenteritis.
A total of 19 residents have suffered vomiting and diarrhoea since the illness struck six days ago.
A facility spokeswoman yesterday confirmed the rest home had been isolated and the Taranaki District Health Board had been notified.
She said the rest home was following Ministry of Health regulations and was keeping in regular contact with the ministry.
Simon Challies, chief executive of Ryman Healthcare which operates the village, said the outbreak had been limited.
"The staff react very quickly because they want to limit the spread of it as quickly as they can," Mr Challies said.
"It is pretty traumatic for residents if they get the bug."
Communal dining rooms and lounges had been closed and contact between residents limited to reduce the spread of the bug, he said.
The TDHB Public Health Unit said the outbreak had been well managed by staff. Medical officer of health Dr Greg Simmons said there had been no new cases yesterday.
"The rest home was advised at the outset to decline to take any new patients and to restrict visiting until the outbreak was over," Dr Simmons said.
Laboratory tests to determine the cause of the outbreak had been done and although the results were still being awaited the illness was likely to be viral, he said.
"Gastroenteritis outbreaks in rest homes and hospitals are common in New Zealand and represent a significant challenge to infection control.
"On average there are six notified gastroenteritis outbreaks in Taranaki rest homes each year."
Dr Simmons said one key strategy to control such outbreaks was good hand hygiene.
"It is important to prevent the spread of this highly infectious illness. Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with warm soapy water then dry them for another 20 seconds."
Members of the public should ring Healthline on 0800 611 116 if they require medical advice.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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