One ward has been closed to new admissions at University Hospital Galway in the wake of a suspected outbreak of the winter vomiting bug.
A spokesperson for the Health Service Executive West says the situation at St Anthony’s Ward is being monitored on a daily basis.
“An outbreak control committee has been formed and hospital management and staff have put in place measures to reduce, in so far as possible, risk of the virus spreading to other patients and to other areas/departments within the hospital.”
People are asked not to visit the hospital unless it is essential, to prevent the spread of infection.
The spokesperson outlined there is an increased incidence of vomiting and diarroheal illness, suggestive of Norovirus (the winter vomiting bug ) in the community. This is a common occurrence at this time of year.
“Norovirus is easily spread from person to person and can, therefore, cause major problems when people bring the infection into the hospital setting. The infection is very distressing for those affected but usually clears up within a few days and generally does not have any long term effects.”
She is appealing to the public to help prevent the spread of the virus.
“We are requesting the co-operation of the general public in preventing the spread of this infection. Visitors are encouraged not to visit the hospital unless it is essential and, where it is essential, visitor numbers should be kept to a minimum and be confined to visiting times only (visiting times are 2pm to 4pm and 6.30pm to 8.30pm ).
“ Visitors who themselves may be unwell or have vomiting or diarrhoea should not visit the hospital. Very young children or those with some other serious illness should avoid visiting the hospital as they may be particularly susceptible to the virus.”
People are advised to wash their hands thoroughly before leaving the inpatient area or after visiting the toilet.
“ The hospital wishes to thank the public for their co-operation.”
The winter vomiting bug is a mild, unpleasant illness, lasts two to three days and is easily spread. The best treatment is to drink plenty of fluids, take paracetamol for the cramps and get lots of bed rest. Doctors say there is no need to take antibiotics because these will not be effective. The bug is community based and is brought into hospitals from outside.