Serious flu outbreak at West Limerick hospital

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Restrictions: St Ita's Hospital in Newcastle West
RESTRICTIONS have been put in place at St Ita’s Hospital in Newcastle West following an outbreak of influenza, the HSE has confirmed.

RESTRICTIONS have been put in place at St Ita’s Hospital in Newcastle West following an outbreak of influenza, the HSE has confirmed.

A total of 24 elderly patients are receiving treatment after contracting the virus in one of the Gortboy hospital’s residential care wards. All admissions to the ward in question have been cancelled until further notice and visits have been limited to immediate family only, as hospital management seek to contain the virus.

A spokesperson for the HSE said that the outbreak of the virus was detected at the end of March, after a number of elderly patients “developed respiratory problems”.

In a statement released this Wednesday afternoon, the HSE confirmed that there have been “no new cases for the last couple of days”, and that the affected patients are “recovering well” after receiving antiviral and antibiotic medication.

St Ita’s Hospital is one of the primary residential care facilities for elderly people in the Mid West, and currently has almost 100 beds in rehabilitation, respite care, continuing care and short stay wards.

The HSE spokesperson said that while “extra vigilance” is being employed to prevent the spread of the virus to other parts of the hospital, admissions to other wards are proceeding as scheduled.

“All appropriate actions have been taken, including antiviral medications and antibiotics for patients as appropriate. Visiting restrictions are in place to immediate family only and extra vigilance regarding hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette is in place.

“National guidelines are being followed with regard to the management of influenza outbreaks in residential care facilities in Ireland. “The outbreak is being overseen by an outbreak control team including infection control, local staff, management and public health doctors”.

The HSE spokesperson added that the elderly, children and other people who may be vulnerable to the virus are being advised not to visit.