Ban on Waterford hospital visits

Fri, May 11, 2012, 01:00

A ban on visitors to Waterford Regional Hospital due to the outbreak of the norovirus or the winter vomiting bug continues this weekend.

Hospital general manager Patricia O'Sullivan has said that visitors to all wards are prohibited except in exceptional circumstances to prevent the spread of the virus to patients and staff.

“The vomiting bug is currently in the community and people may unknowingly bring the bug into the hospital when visiting sick relatives or friends”, Ms O'Sullivan warned.

Only visitors to critical care patients, the partner or designated visitor of a maternity patient, or the parents or guardians of a child may visit. No children will be allowed to visit the hospital.

She said while the hospital regretted the inconvenience, the measures were necessary.

While cancer services, emergency services and outpatient services continue as normal, the hospital is asking that only genuine emergencies present at the emergency department. Where possible, members of the public are asked to consult their GP or out of hours service before coming.

The hospital is also asking that those affected by vomiting and/or diarrhoea, or anyone who has had contact with persons who are, not visit the hospital until they are symptom free for 72 hours.

The vomiting bug, which can be transmitted through direct contact with someone with the virus or through contaminated food, usually causes brief outbreaks of abdominal pain and nausea followed by diarrhoea and/or vomiting. While rarely causing severe problems, it can be debilitating to small children or older people who are already ill or infirm.

Those affected should drink plenty of fluids, maintain strict hygiene and avoid visiting hospitals or nursing homes. If symptoms persist, patients are advised to contact their GP by phone before attending the surgery to limit the spread of the virus.

The hospital says it will be keeping the situation under daily review.