Gastroenteritis in maternity ward

16 September 2013

Taranaki DHB has limited non essential visiting to the maternity ward at Taranaki Base Hospital because of an outbreak of gastroenteritis.

Several patients and staff have fallen ill with vomiting and/or diarrhoea which has lead to this precautionary measure of limiting visiting to prevent any possible spread.

Of the three affected patients, two have been discharged home, and the remaining patient has been placed in isolation.  The symptoms are mild to moderate and seem to last a short time. No new admissions to the postnatal ward may mean that some elective surgery may have to be postponed as bed space is limited.

Taranaki DHB Clinical Services Manager Leigh Cleland made the decision today to limit the ward to visitors and allow only essential visitors in. Partners only are allowed to visit the ward and if necessary they may be required to wear appropriate protective clothing.

At this stage the labour ward is unaffected so women who go into labour will remain in this area. Patients will be discharged directly to their home from the ward when appropriate.

Thorough cleaning of the post natal ward has begun and test samples have been sent to the laboratory to try to determine the nature of the outbreak. The results should be available within a week.

“We are doing everything we can to prevent this illness spreading to anyone else,’ said Ms Cleland. “We understand this is very difficult for mothers and their families and although there may be some disruption, we are doing everything we can to ensure mothers and babies are comfortable.’

“We are also asking members of the public that if they have vomiting or diarrhoea or have visited someone with these symptoms, that they do not visit patients in the hospital until they have been symptom free for at least 48 hours.“

 “We are also reminding the public and our staff of the vital importance of good hand hygiene for preventing the spread of a potentially highly contagious illness. That means washing your hands for 20 seconds with warm soapy water and drying them thoroughly with clean towels or paper towels for another 20 seconds”.

The ward staff, Public Health and Infection Control staff are constantly reassessing the situation and taking all steps to safely discharge patients.

For more information please call

Sue Carrington
Media Adviser
Ph 021 367 789

Last updated: Monday, September 16, 2013

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