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Norovirus gastroenteritis outbreak in elderly home under close watch

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a gastroenteritis outbreak in an elderly home and reminded people and management of institutions to strictly observe environmental and personal hygiene to prevent norovirus gastroenteritis.

     The gastroenteritis outbreak is affecting 17 residents and three staff members in an elderly home in Mong Kok.

     The affected, six men and 14 women, developed symptoms of gastroenteritis including diarrhoea, vomiting and fever since July 21 this year.

     Nineteen of them sought medical treatment. Of the nine residents admitted to Kwong Wah Hospital, four have been discharged. All are in stable condition.

     The stool samples of three residents tested positive for norovirus.

     Officers of the CHP have visited the institution and provided health advice to staff on proper disinfection, disposal of vomitus and faecal matter, as well as personal and food hygiene.

     The CHP will closely monitor the institution and provide further advice if necessary.

     A CHP spokesman said norovirus infection could be transmitted via contaminated food or water, contact with vomitus or faeces or any objects contaminated by the virus.

     "Proper disposal of vomitus and faecal matter and adequate disinfection of the environment are very important in preventing and controlling the spread of the disease," he said.

     To prevent the spread of viral gastroenteritis, the public should take the following precautions:

* wash hands thoroughly before handling food and eating and after using the toilet or handling vomitus or faecal matter;
* wear gloves when disposing of vomitus or faeces, and wash hands afterwards;
* clean and disinfect contaminated areas or items promptly and thoroughly with household bleach diluted at a ratio of 1:50 (by adding one part of household bleach to 49 parts of water);
* maintain good indoor ventilation; and
* make sure that food, particularly seafood and shellfish, is cooked thoroughly.

Ends/Friday, July 30, 2010
Issued at HKT 19:10


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