Hawke’s Bay health officials are asking people to practice good hand hygiene and stay home if feeling unwell after more reports of a vomiting and diarrhoea bug circulating within the community.
Medical Officer of Health Dr Nick Jones said within the past 24 hours Hawke’s Bay’s public health unit had received an additional four notifications of gastro outbreaks among childcare centres as well as one school, taking the total number of reported outbreaks in recent days to eight.
“These outbreaks are located in the Hastings and Napier districts and include a sudden onset of vomiting, diarrhoea and fever, usually lasting for 24 hours,” said Dr Jones.
“Hand hygiene is very important to prevent the spread of the bug. Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds and dried thoroughly with paper towels, especially after going to the toilet, after changing a nappy and before handling food.
“Sick people should also stay away from work, school, sport and community activities, preparing food or swimming in public pools until they are well and without diarrhoea for 48 hours.”
Dr Jones said keeping unwell children or loved ones hydrated was important.
“Anyone at home with vomiting and diarrhoea needs to stay hydrated and if symptoms don’t improve, it’s very important to call your family doctor of Healthline on 0800-611-116 for medical advice,” he said.
Cleaning household items was also very important to prevent bugs spreading.
“Clean hard surfaces, toys, bathrooms and utensils as they can become contaminated with the virus. Wash dirty clothing in hot water and rinse separately from the rest of the laundry.”
Earlier this week a ward at Hawke’s Bay Hospital was placed in precautionary lockdown due to Norovirus. The ward remains in lockdown, with strict infection, prevention and control measures in place. Nine patients and eight members of staff have been affected, but there have been no new cases reported within the past 24 hours.
Editor’s Note: There have been eight reported gastro-cases to public health. Seven of these are educational (child care centres/school) the eighth is Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s AT&R ward.