Remember to keep washing your hands says WDHB
back

5 October 2012
 
Recent outbreaks of Norovirus in the upper North Island have prompted a reminder to Whanganui residents to wash hands thoroughly when visiting the bathroom and before eating.
 
WDHB infection prevention and control clinical nurse specialist Declan Rogers says fortunately no cases of Norovirus infection have been confirmed in Whanganui but if they were, the Whanganui District Health Board is confident of containing an outbreak.
 
“It’s a timely reminder for us to wash our hands and understand that this is the best way to prevent the spread of Norovirus infection and indeed, many other infections,” Mr Rogers said.
 
The key points to remember are:
  • wash hands carefully after going the toilet, changing nappies and before preparing food (20 seconds washing both sides of the hands with soap and running water, then 20 seconds drying)
  • alcohol hand gel is a useful alternative if hands are not visibly dirty,
  • keep sick people away from others. For Norovirus, this means a person who develops diarrhoea and/or vomiting should leave work or school immediately avoid contact with other people and handling food until 48 hours after the diarrhoea has ended
  • clean contaminated surfaces such as toilets, bathrooms and other hard surfaces a sick person may have touched, with a dilute bleach solution.
Mr Rogers says it’s very important for people who have had diarrhoea and vomiting to stay away from places where there are large numbers of other people.  “Infections can spread very quickly in institutions such as hospitals, rest homes, schools and hostels, or at any type of social gathering,” he says.

Contaminated food can also infect large numbers of people, so anyone who has had diarrhoea and/or vomiting should avoid handling food until 48 hours after their diarrhoea has ended.

For further information about Norovirus please go to the following website:
http://www.foodsmart.govt.nz/food-safety/foodborne-illnesses/norovirus/