Hospital ward closed to contain illness

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Hawke's Bay Hospital. Photo / APN
Hawke's Bay Hospital. Photo / APN

A ward has been closed and visitors urged to stay away from Hawke's Bay Hospital following a stomach bug outbreak.

More than a dozen staff and patients in the Assessment Treatment and Rehabilitation (AT&R) Ward at the Hastings hospital have fallen ill with vomiting and diarrhoea symptoms in the last two days.

Chief operating officer Warrick Frater said samples had been sent away to investigate the cause of the illness, and a warning issued to visitors to keep away.

"It was important visitors stayed away from the hospital if they had vomiting or diarrhoea as the virus could spread rapidly and become a problem for patients who were already unwell," he said.

The AT&R Ward was completely closed to visitors as "stringent hygiene measures" were put in place throughout the hospital to contain the outbreak.

All visitors and staff were being asked to pay strict attention to hand hygiene.

Mr Frater said it wasn't unusual to see outbreaks of tummy bugs at this time of year, especially when the virus was circulating in the community, but he urged unwell visitors to stay away.

Results from the samples were not expected back until mid next week, and a Hawke's Bay District Health Board spokeswoman said the public would be kept up to date with the progress of the outbreak.

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