Bug closes two Dunedin hospital wards

Health authorities have closed two wards at Dunedin Hospital after a suspected outbreak of norovirus.

The medical wards, which have about 30 patients, were closed to visitors and new admissions yesterday.

Otago District Health Board infection control committee chairman John Holmes said 13 hospital staff and 11 patients had shown symptoms of the gut-wrenching stomach virus that causes vomiting and diarrhoea.

Patients without symptoms in the two wards affected were staying in the wards in case they were incubating the virus.

Dr Holmes said it was believed a patient already had the virus when admitted to hospital last week. The results of tests to identify whether the illness was norovirus would not be available until next week.

Symptoms, which included vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea and abdominal pains, usually lasted about 48 hours, but Dr Holmes said staff were asked to stay away from the hospital as a precaution until they had been symptom-free for 48 hours.

Wards at two Christchurch hospitals were closed last month after an outbreak of norovirus and the so-called superbug methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

A Canterbury District Health Board spokeswoman said today all wards at both Christchurch Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital had been reopened.


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