Seven staff sick, likely with norovirus

SAHIBAN KANWAL
Last updated 05:00 28/06/2014

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Seven staff at Timaru Hospital have been off work due to symptoms similar to norovirus.

This brings to 15 the number of staff and patients affected by a virus which presents symptoms similar to norovirus.

This is the third suspected norovirus outbreak in Timaru in the last fortnight. The first two casualties were rest homes, which went into lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus.

Timaru Hospital communications manager Nicola Prue said the patients and staff experienced vomiting and diarrhoea, similar to the symptoms of norovirus, but there has been no confirmation that it is norovirus. "There have been no changes to the elective services and no staff shortages. It is business as usual at the Timaru Hospital."

Three of the hospital's main wards, the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation ward, and the medical and surgical wards, were also affected by the virus, according to South Canterbury District Health Board chief executive Nigel Trainor.

Affected patients and patients who have been in contact with affected patients have been placed in isolation due to the highly contagious nature of the virus.

The hospital has contacted family members and advised them not to visit unless absolutely necessary in an effort to prevent further spread of the virus.

Strathallan Lifecare, one of the rest homes affected by the virus, declined to comment on its current situation yesterday. Three days ago the rest home was still in lockdown.

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- The Timaru Herald

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