Hospital restrictions aim to curb vomiting bug


A FRESH outbreak of the winter vomiting bug has resulted in the closure of 28 beds at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.

There have been 10 new cases of patients with symptoms of the virus over the past 24 hours; 26 patients were currently symptomatic, hospital authorities said in a statement yesterday.

As part of its effort to contain the outbreak, Beaumont has restricted visiting hours and no more than one visitor is allowed to each patient. Children are banned from visiting the hospital until further notice.

The hospital advised visitors to keep strictly within the permitted visiting times of 2-4pm and 6-8pm.

Beaumont said the restrictions were in the interests of patients, staff and visitors and their families. It has advised people with symptoms of the virus, which include abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea, not to visit its emergency department.

The bug, which can last up to 48 hours, does not usually require medical treatment.

However, the hospital advised people with symptoms to take plenty of fluids and, if necessary, to contact their GP.

The bug is caused by a group of viruses called noroviruses and accounts for approximately 90 per cent of gastroenteritis epidemic outbreaks around the world. It is the most common cause of stomach infection in Ireland, accounting for a high proportion of annual absenteeism.

According to the Irish Health Protection Surveillance Centre, the best method of prevention is to observe good hygiene, including regular hand-washing after toilet visits, as well as before and after meal times.

The Regency Hotel in Santry, Dublin, was forced to cancel a number of Christmas events and suspend its food and beverage service after a suspected outbreak of the bug in its catering services this month.