Resthome has gastroenteritis outbreak well contained

20 July 2012

Taranaki DHB Public Health Unit confirmed that there is an outbreak of gastroenteritis at a Taranaki resthome and that it is being well managed by staff with just one case yesterday and none today.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Greg Simmons, said there had been a total of 19 cases over the last 6 days. The resthome was advised at the outset to decline to take any new patients and to restrict visiting until the outbreak was over.

Gastroenteritis outbreaks in resthomes 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.

Laboratory tests to determine the cause of the outbreak are awaited but the illness is likely to be viral.

Dr Simmons said that one key strategy to control this type of outbreak is to adhere to 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.

Last updated: Friday, July 20, 2012

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