16 Jan 2010

Two North Island hospitals on norovirus alert

10:00 pm on 16 January 2010

A second North Island hospital has a suspected outbreak of norovirus. It was confirmed at Thames Hospital on Friday; now Whangarei Area Hospital appears to have it too.

More than 20 patients are being isolated at the Whangarei hospital after a suspected outbreak of the highly contagious stomach virus.

Ward 14 of the hospital has been sealed off and tests are being carried out to confirm the presence of the infectious complaint.

A shift co-ordinator at the hospital says no one is particularly ill yet but all the necessary precautions are being taken. She says it will be some days before the presence of norovirus can be confirmed.

13 staff, two patients affected

The Waikato District Health Board has confirmed, however, that a vomiting bug at Thames Hospital is norovirus.

Since Wednesday, 13 staff and two patients have contracted the virus, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea.

Board spokesperson Mary Anne Gill says the Medical Officer of Health has been notified and the patients have been isolated.

She says elective surgery and clinics are still operating as normal, but anyone suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting should refrain from visiting other people at the hospital.