Outbreak: Norovirus Spreads in Auckland's Middlemore Hospital

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By Reissa Su | February 3, 2014 4:42 PM EST

Auckland's Middlemore Hospital is trying to contain the norovirus outbreak that has affected not only patients but also hospital staff. Patients with norovirus were brought to the hospital for treatment. However, the virus has spread, causing an outbreak in the hospital.

As of Feb 3, 14 people have been reported ill from norovirus. Middlemore Hospital is currently on alert and cautions visitors to wash hands with soap and water thoroughly before and after the visit. Those who will visit affected wards may be asked to wear gloves and gowns before being allowed inside.

The hospital staff has also warned against taking children inside the hospital while the norovirus outbreak is ongoing.

Norovirus is also known as gastroenteritis which includes abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea among its symptoms. A person with norovirus usually shows symptoms that will last between 12 to 72 hours.

In 2012, a norovirus outbreak has been recorded in Hamilton, Tauranga and Middlemore hospitals. In the previous outbreak, Middlemore Hospital had over 100 patients and staff afflicted with the stomach bug. The hospital had no choice but to close some wards to control the spread of infection.

Health experts advised New Zealand residents who are sick with the stomach bug to drink a lot of fluids and avoid touching the elderly and infants until symptoms have receded for a minimum of 24 hours. 

Outbreak in cruise ship

Dozens of passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship caught a stomach bug on its last trip. The cruise ship arrived in Tauranga on Jan 15 and marked the end of a voyage that  began in Australia.

About 60 people from among the 3,500 of the ship's passengers and crew fell ill after contracting norovirus. The virus is highly contagious with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and lethargy.

A passenger who asked not to be named told the Herald that he is seriously considering not going on his scheduled trip. He is due to leave for Sydney aboard the cruise ship for two weeks. The anonymous passenger said his partner is not in the best of health. They were looking forward to the spending time together in the cruise ship.

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