Outbreaks of a highly infectious tummy bug have been identified in five Taranaki rest homes and an estimated 100 people have been diagnosed with suspected viral gastroenteritis.
Results from one rest home confirmed norovirus, Taranaki District Health Board's medical officer of health Dr Jonathan Jarman said.
The DHB expects to receive laboratory results from other rest homes in the next few days.
Norovirus is a highly infectious disease and it is easily transmitted, Jarman said.
"Outbreaks of suspected norovirus gastroenteritis are not uncommon in rest homes and hospitals due to the close living conditions of residents and patients."
Family members will need patience if they want to visit a rest home, he said. "Affected rest homes will be putting up signs and will be asking non-essential visitors to stay away."
Since March 17, five Taranaki rest homes have notified Jarman about outbreaks of suspected norovirus gastroenteritis.
"Norovirus is highly infectious and sometimes being in the same room where someone has vomited is enough to catch the illness."
Norovirus gastroenteritis is normally only a mild to moderate illness but the elderly and the very young can have more serious disease.
Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pains and feeling like throwing up.
People with symptoms of gastroenteritis are advised to stay away from other people and see a doctor if the symptoms are severe or the illness does not get better after two days.
- Taranaki Daily News
Is high tea at a funeral parlour your cup of tea?Related story: High tea... in a funeral parlour