Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Small gastro outbreak hits Rochester

A number of people have been infected with the gastroenteritis virus in Rochester.

ELAINE COONEY January 22, 2013 4:11am

A small outbreak of gastroenteritis has hit Rochester.

Rochester and Elmore District Health Service declared an outbreak on January 13 when two residents started showing symptoms of the virus.

REDHS chief executive Matt Sharp yesterday said in total 15 residents across the aged care areas and 11 staff had contracted the virus since the outbreak began.

‘‘(As of yesterday) there are four residents and four staff with gastroenteritis,’’ he said.

‘‘Residents in the nursing home have developed the same symptoms as residents in the hostel and we have restricted visitors coming into the nursing home as well to limit the spread of gastroenteritis.

‘‘Three residents of the hostel have been transferred to the acute ward, two for further treatment related to gastroenteritis and one as a precautionary measure.

‘‘We are restricting the number of people coming into the hostel in general and limiting the number of staff moving in and out of a small section of the hostel.

‘‘This is standard procedure in such a gastroenteritis outbreak and is carried out to reduce the chance residents and visitors will contract gastroenteritis and spread it further around the community.’’

Mr Sharp said REDHS has policies and procedures in place for a gastroenteritis outbreak.

‘‘This consists of infection control practices that are being enforced such as limiting visitors to the affected area, isolating residents and patients that have gastroenteritis form other residents and patients as well as cleaning and disposal of waste,’’ he said.

He said REDHS staff were doing a great job in limiting the spread of gastroenteritis to other residents and patients and the community more broadly.

The main treatment patients received at the hospital was ensuring they have plenty of fluids and rest.

Rochester pharmacist Brett Phillips said it seemed to be a ‘‘very nasty strain’’ at the moment.

Symptoms are nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps/pain, diarrhoea, bloating, loss of appetite and generally feeling unwell and lethargic.

Mr Phillips said it generally lasted 48-hours but was going on longer in some cases.

He said dehydration was a common side-effect and it was important for those infected to keep fluid levels high.

He said the heat should exacerbate dehydration and it was important to care for the young and old and make sure they have enough fluids and electrolytes in their systems.

Despite being traditionally used as a remedy for dehydration, Mr Phillips said drinking flat lemonade was not a good idea as it contained too much sugar to hydrate effectively.

He said rehydration solutions were the perfect answer for hydrating the body.

Mr Phillips said residents should seek medical assistance if vomiting persisted for more than 24 hours or if diarrhoea lasted for more than a week with dehydration symptoms prevalent.

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