Outbreak of gastroenteritis at Gisborne Hospital

28 November 2013

Tairawhiti District Health is asking visitors to stay away from Gisborne Hospital unless absolutely necessary, after an outbreak of gastroenteritis among patients.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Geoffrey Cramp confirmed this morning that 11 patients were suffering from vomiting or diarrhoea.

"Until we get laboratory results we cannot be sure what we are dealing with, but we are treating this as an outbreak of Norovirus. Our priority is to limit the number of cases and to protect our vulnerable patients."

As a precautionary measure, clinical staff at Gisborne Hospital are donning masks and gowns to deal with patients showing symptoms. "Any visitors to those patients will also be asked to wear protective clothing," he said.

Dr Cramp reminded residents of Tairawhiti of the importance of excellent hand hygiene to stop the spread of infectious diseases such as Norovirus. "Clean hands save lives," he said.

"The number one way to protect yourselves and your family is to ensure scrupulously clean hands. A good way to make sure you are cleaning your hands properly is to sing happy birthday to yourself while you wash with soap, and sing it again while you dry your hands on a clean towel."

Dr Cramp also said it was vital that people who had recently been unwell or even just "feeling sick" did not come to the hospital.

ENDS

 

For more information:

Kathy McVey, Communications Manager

(06) 869-0500 or  021 223-7094