Waterford hospital bans visitors to restrict vomiting bug


MANAGEMENT AT Waterford Regional Hospital yesterday confirmed it had imposed a ban on visitors to the hospital in an effort to curtail an outbreak of the norovirus or winter vomiting bug.

Hospital general manager Patricia O’Sullivan also asked people not to go to the hospital’s emergency department except in genuine emergencies and advised people, where possible, to consult their GP or out-of-hours GP service before coming.

Ms O’Sullivan said visits to all wards at the hospital were prohibited except in exceptional circumstances: in maternity care, visiting is restricted to partners, and in the children’s ward only parents or guardians can visit.

“Waterford Regional Hospital regrets this inconvenience but it is necessary to prevent the spread of these illnesses to both patients and staff,” she said.

Cancer, emergency and outpatient services will continue as normal and the situation will be reviewed on a daily basis, she said, following the introduction of the visiting ban at 5.30pm yesterday.

Ms O’Sullivan appealed to the public for their co-operation with the visiting restrictions at the 440-bed hospital, and reiterated how important it was for patients that these infection control measures were respected.

“The vomiting bug is currently in the community and people may unknowingly bring the bug into the hospital when visiting sick relatives or friends, and I would appeal to the public to co-operate with the restrictions currently in place.”

Anyone who has been affected by vomiting and/or diarrhoea, or anyone who has had contact with people with these symptoms, should not visit a hospital until they have been symptom free for 72 hours.

The bug usually causes abdominal pain and nausea, followed by diarrhoea and vomiting.