HERVEY BAY Hospital is facing an outbreak of the highly contagious norovirus, with five patients diagnosed and some visitors urged to stay away.
Hervey Bay Hospital clinical nurse consultant infection control Raelene Papp confirmed the outbreak and said the hospital had moved quickly to contain the virus.
“We have introduced precautionary measures to reduce the risk to patients and staff, such as reducing the numbers of visitors and isolating any patients who have shown signs of this illness,” she said.
“Our staff have introduced strict infection control procedures to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.”
The virus causes vomiting and diarrhoea, and can be severe in older people or people with underlying medical conditions.
“It is highly infectious and easily spread from person to person, by the transferring of germs on people’s hands, inhaling droplets in the air or eating or drinking something that has been contaminated,” Ms Papp said.
The main symptoms are vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, stomach cramps, fever and headaches.
Ms Papp said outbreaks could easily occur where there was a concentrated number of people in one area such as child care centres, aged care facilities, hospitals and schools.
There is no antiviral medication that works against norovirus and there is no vaccine to prevent infection. However, the illness is usually brief in healthy individuals, lasting 48 to 72 hours.
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