Public Health physician Dr Margaret Young urges people to practice good hygiene to avoid contracting or spreading gastro.
Public Health physician Dr Margaret Young urges people to practice good hygiene to avoid contracting or spreading gastro. Max Fleet

Nursing home residents isolated

A BUNDABERG nursing home is in quarantine after several people contracted an extremely contagious gastro virus.

Blue Care's North/West regional director of services Michelle McKay confirmed yesterday that several suspected cases of gastroenteritis had occurred at Bundaberg's Blue Care Pioneer Lodge Aged Care Facility however she said there were currently no active cases or symptoms.

"For the last 24 hours no staff members or residents at the facility have had gastroenteritis symptoms," she said.

Ms McKay said Queensland Health had been notified and senior Blue Care clinical staff had visited the facility to ensure all infection control procedures were in place to prevent further infection.

"We contacted Queensland Health and sought their specialist assistance immediately as soon as we identified several people were infected," she said.

Ms McKay said Blue Care has a rigorous incident reporting process, which includes the reporting of such conditions.

"The reporting process combined with stringent infection control procedures ensures Blue Care can monitor and quickly action such conditions to protect residents and staff," she said.

Ms McKay said Blue Care worked closely with Queensland Health and local medical practitioners to ensure ill residents received the best care and support.

"After 72 hours with no cases we will consult the Public Health Unit for quarantine clearance."

Wide Bay Public Health Unit public health physician Margaret Young said isolation was essential to containing the virus, especially in a facility where it could affect those most at risk.

"Norovirus is highly contagious and very infectious," she said.

"The facilities social activities will be cancelled to stop an instance where a large group of residents could be infected at once.

"Often the elderly have other underlying health conditions which impact on their immune system, and this make them more vulnerable."

Dr Young said washing hands regularly, especially after going to the bathroom, should be practised at all times.



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