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Dublin: 21 °C Thursday 24 July, 2014

Visitor restrictions at St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork due to vomiting bug

Relatives of very ill patients are asked to contact the hospital in advance of visits and no children are allowed to visit until further notice.

File photo of visitor restrictions at a hospital during an outbreak of the vomiting bug.
File photo of visitor restrictions at a hospital during an outbreak of the vomiting bug.
Image: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland

STRICT VISITOR RESTRICTIONS have been introduced with immediate effect in the Rehabilitation Wards at St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork due to an increase in the reported number of patients with suspected norovirus, commonly known as the vomiting bug.

The Hospital said today that this is in the interest of patient care and in order to curb the spread of the vomiting bug within the hospital.

All relatives of very ill patients are being asked to make contact with the hospital in advance of their visit. No children are allowed to visit as they are particularly susceptible to the bug.

On Wednesday the HSE asked the public to help stop the spread of the bug by respecting hospital visiting hours and following hand hygiene directions when visiting.

Earlier this month, St Vincent’s hospital in Dublin also introduced visiting restrictions in response to the vomiting bug at the facility.

Neil Mackay, Director of Nursing, St. Finbarr’s Hospital said the bug is currently widespread in the community and people may unknowingly bring the bug into the hospital when visiting sick relatives or friends.

“Patient care is our priority and we would urge the public to help hospital staff keep the virus at bay as it can further debilitate those who are already sick in hospital,” he said.

The vomiting bug usually causes short-lasting outbreaks of abdominal pain and nausea followed by diarrhoea and/or vomiting. It is usually quite mild and rarely causes severe problems, however it may be quite unpleasant and debilitating in small children or older people who are already ill or infirm.

The virus is highly infectious and is spread by;

  • Direct contact with vomit or diarrhoea
  • From someone who is ill, especially if personal hygiene is not good
  • From the air around someone who has just vomited
  • From contaminated food

People affected by the virus should drink plenty of fluids; maintain strict hygiene and because of the highly contagious nature of the virus and avoid visiting hospitals or nursing homes. If symptoms persist, contact your GP by telephone and advise them of your condition before going to the surgery so as to limit the spread of the virus.

Tips to avoid the bug:

  • Wash hands carefully
  • Clean surfaces with diluted household bleach
  • Do not share towels
  • Wash towels on hot cycle of washing machine

“I would like to appeal to the public to co-operate with the restrictions currently in place and advise anyone who have been affected by vomiting and/or diarrhoea, or anyone who has had contact with persons with these symptoms, not to visit hospital until they have been symptom free for 72 hours,” Mackay said.

Relatives wishing to contact the hospital to inform them of their visit can call 021 4966555.

Related: Public warned over winter vomiting bug in St Vincent’s Hospital>

Read: HSE warns of increase in winter vomiting bug cases>

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