VISITING restrictions are now in place in University Hospital Limerick as staff manage an outbreak of a highly infectious vomiting bug.
"We regret having to take these necessary precautionary measures and we are looking for co-operation from members of the public," said a spokesperson.
There are currently eight symptomatic patients with norovirus on Ward 1B.
UHL have requested that visitors are not permitted on this ward until further notice.
"We regret any inconvenience these necessary precautions may cause to patients and their loved ones," it was added.
"We remind members of the public that visiting hours for the rest of the hospital are 2pm-4pm and 6pm-9pm only. Members of the public are reminded not to bring children on visits anywhere in the hospital unless they are visiting a parent/guardian or sibling.
All necessary infection prevention and control measures are being put in place to manage this outbreak in the hospital.
Members of the public are advised that norovirus is circulating in the community and therefore members of the public should not visit anyone in hospital if they themselves are unwell.
Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea. This is important as there have been previous outbreaks secondary to vomiting episodes by visitors on the hospital wards.
People with symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at UHL.
For further information on norovirus and its management, please refer to this factsheet provided by the Irish Health Protection Surveillance Centre.
What is norovirus?
The vomiting bug known as norovirus usually causes short-lasting outbreaks of abdominal pain and nausea followed by diarrhoea and/or vomiting.
The virus is highly infectious and is spread by:
* direct contact with vomiting or diarrhoea
* from someone who is ill, especially if personal hygiene is not good
* from the air around someone who has just vomited
* from contaminated food
People affected by the virus should drink plenty of fluids; maintain strict hygiene and because of the highly contagious nature of the virus avoid visiting hospitals or nursing homes. If symptoms persist, contact your GP by telephone and advise him/her of your condition before going to the surgery so as to limit the spread of the virus.
Tips to avoid the bug:
*Wash hands carefully
*Clean surfaces with diluted household bleach
*Do not share towels
*Wash towels on hot cycle of washing machine