A unit at Hawke's Bay Hospital has been closed since Saturday, following a norovirus outbreak at a retirement village.

A Hawke's Bay District Health Board spokeswoman said there had been a confirmed Norovirus outbreak at Princess Alexandra retirement village in Napier.

Two residents of the village needed hospital care and were admitted to the Acute Assessment Unit (AAU), at Hawke's Bay Hospital late last week.

Norovirus is an extremely contagious stomach bug which causes nausea, cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting.


Princess Alexandra village manager Jodie Dunn said none of their residents had been admitted because of norovirus, but one had gone to hospital for another medical problem.

There had been a few residents at the village affected by the virus, so Ms Dunn said precautions had been taken.

The HBDHB spokeswoman said the AAU was closed on Saturday from admitting any further patients over the weekend as a precaution, and to prevent spread of the virus through the hospital.

Half of the ward was expected to reopen later today.

"No other patients in AAU have come down with norovirus at this stage, but infection control processes are in place, which is the reason for the temporary lock down of the ward," she said.

"Hawke's Bay Hospital urges anyone who isn't well with any kind of stomach bug to stay away from visiting family or friends in hospital as stomach viruses are highly contagious."

The spokeswoman said one patient had been discharged and returned to Princess Alexandra, and the other was in isolation in the AAU with symptoms.

The district health board's public health service was working with Princess Alexandra to make sure all infection control processes were in place.

The Ministry of Health website states norovirus is highly infectious and spreads easily from person to person. Both faeces and vomit are infectious, and the virus can survive on contaminated surfaces even after cleaning with some disinfectants.

People with norovirus are infectious for at least 3 days after the symptoms stop and on some occasions for up to 2 weeks.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, stomach cramps, headache, low-grade fever, chills, and muscle aches.

The virus can be spread through consuming contaminated food or drinks, touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then putting your fingers in your mouth, having direct contact with an infected person, or through the air.

-For more information on where to go for healthcare in Hawke's Bay or on health conditions go to www.ourhealthhb.nz