06 Mar Gastroenteritis Outbreak in Nelson
The outbreak of gastroenteritis that is occurring at Nelson Hospital is continuing and the Nelson Marlborough Public Health Service has renewed its advice about how to prevent the spread in the community.
Hospital Operations Manager and Associate Director of Nursing Linda Ryan says that robust infection prevention practice is in place and has been strengthened again since 6pm yesterday with more information provided to staff, patients and visitors about the processes and procedures in place to limit the outbreak.
The current situation in the hospital is:
8 patients at Nelson Hospital are currently in isolation with gastroenteritis. Of these 8, 3 were new cases admitted to isolation overnight.
Two of the three are patients who had been exposed to another patient with gastroenteritis, prior to knowledge of the outbreak. The third person was admitted to hospital from the community and who was not showing symptoms at that time. This person quickly became sick with gastroenteritis and was put into isolation. This means that they contracted the illness in the community and not in hospital.
4 of the original 6 patients in isolation at 5pm yesterday have been discharged.
Dr Andrew Lindsay, Medical Officer of Health with the Nelson Marlborough Public Health Service reminds people not to visit public places – especially hospitals, schools, early childhood education centres, rest homes and workplaces – if they have had or vomiting that finished less than 48 hours ago.
“Gastroenteritis is highly infectious, very easily spread from person to person and people are contagious for up to 48 hours after symptoms have ceased. So if you’ve been sick it’s important to stay away from public places as much as possible for 48 hours after your symptoms cease. And also to avoid handling food served to other people, as much as possible,” Dr Lindsay says.
“Regular and thorough hand washing, with lots of soap of hot water, is very important, especially if you can’t avoid handling food for other people.”