More than 100 sick as norovirus outbreak hits city
UPDATE: An outbreak of the gastro-bug norovirus has struck down more than 100 patients and staff at health and aged facilities across the region.
West Moreton Hospital and Health Service recorded the first case of the highly infectious virus, which leaves sufferers with diarrhoea and vomiting for up to 72 hours, last week.
The Bundaleer Lodge Aged Care Facility in North Ipswich has been hardest hit, with 55 residents and 14 staff contracting the virus.
Norovirus has affected 11 staff and 11 patients at Ipswich Hospital and one patient and 13 staff at Boonah Hospital.
The aged and very young are most susceptible to norovirus.
A Bundaleer Lodge spokesperson said the facility was working with Queensland Health.
"As always, our residents' health and care are our highest priority which is why we are following the guidelines for managing suspected norovirus outbreaks in residential care facilities," the spokesperson said.
West Moreton Health Service chief executive Lesley Dwyer said the hospital had taken the precaution of isolating patients with norovirus symptoms in a bid to protect other patients, visitors, and staff.
Ms Dwyer urged anyone experiencing vomiting and diarrhoea to not visit their loved ones in hospital for at least 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped.
"Norovirus is common in the community during winter months," Ms Dwyer said.
"This virus is being spread around the general community at the moment, so it is not unique to the West Moreton Hospital and Health Service."
Ms Dwyer said the West Moreton Hospital and Health Service public health unit was working closely with Bundaleer Lodge and the Australian Department of Health and Aging to help with the outbreak of norovirus at the nursing home.
"Our hospitals routinely comply with all infection control procedures, including disinfection of patient rooms, to minimise the risk of cross infection of any kind," she said.
She said anyone who attended a hospital or nursing home should ensure they washed their hands as they entered the facility and as they left.
There should be wash basins and alcohol-based hand rubs throughout such facilities.
"We apologise for any inconvenience but these measures are essential to help control this virus while providing essential medical care to our patients," Ms Dwyer said.
Queensland Health recommend washing your hands for 15 seconds after going to the toilet, changing nappies, touching animals or handling food if living with someone who has norovirus.
The main symptoms are vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, stomach cramps, fever and headaches.
Outbreaks are known to easily occur where there are a concentrated number of people such as childcare centres, aged-care facilities, hospitals and schools.
Stop the spread
- Norovirus is easily spread from person to person by hand or body contact.
- A person with norovirus is infectious for up to 48 hours after the symptoms have stopped.
- There is no antiviral medication or vaccine for norovirus.