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Outbreak of gastro in the city

Saturday, 27th September, 2014

Southern Cross Care CEO Allan Carter has urged anyone feeling unwell to steer clear of aged care facilities. Southern Cross Care CEO Allan Carter has urged anyone feeling unwell to steer clear of aged care facilities.

The hospital has reported an outbreak of gastroenteritis in Broken Hill.

There has been an increase in people of all ages attending the Emergency Department with gastro symptoms, including vomiting and diarrhoea, according to the Far West Local Health District’s Communicable Diseases team.

More than 10 cases had been recorded this week alone, said a hospital spokesman.

“Of course, any number of people could have gone to the GP for treatment, or suffered without seeking treatment.”

Viral gastroenteritis is highly infectious and is often spread via direct contact with an infected person. Outbreaks are most often caused by a virus, mostly norovirus, and are very easily spread.

Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, abdominal pain, headache, and muscle aches. They can take one to three days to develop and usually last between a day or two or sometimes longer.

The best way to reduce your chances of getting viral gastroenteritis is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water for at least 10 seconds before handling and eating food, and always wash your hands after using the toilet.

Dehydration often follows bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea so people with the virus should rest well and increase the amounts of fluid they drink. 

It is very important that if you or your family are unwell with gastroenteritis that you stay home from work or keep a child home from school or child care if they are sick. It is important to remain at home for at least 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.

People should also avoid visiting hospitals or aged care facilities to prevent spreading the disease to vulnerable people.

Southern Cross Care CEO Allan Carter said the outbreak had not yet spread to St Anne’s or Harold Williams Home, and he asked the public to help ensure the aged care facilities remained free of the virus.

“We’re pretty pro-active with hand hygiene and constantly having the message out there that if you’re sick, it’s best to stay away,” said Mr Carter.

“It spreads pretty quickly in this type of facility and the people are a bit more vulnerable, so if you do have a cold or a bit of gastro, think of everybody and don’t come visit until you’re cured.

“If people are concerned they should see their local GP.

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