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CHP investigates acute gastroenteritis outbreak at elderly homes

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (July 30) reminded members of the public and management of institutions to maintain personal and environmental hygiene to prevent gastroenteritis.

     The appeal was made following the CHP's investigation into an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis at two homes for the elderly in Sheung Shui involving 23 residents and four staff members aged between 45 and 93.  The two elderly homes shared staff and kitchen facilities.

     The affected, comprising 7 males and 20 females, have had symptoms of gastroenteritis, including vomiting, fever, diarrhoea and abdominal pain, since July 25.

     All of them sought medical attention. Five persons required hospitalisation. All the affected are now in stable condition.

     The stool specimen of one hospitalised patient showed the presence of Norovirus.

     Officers of the CHP have visited the institutions and provided health advice to the staff concerning proper disinfection, disposal of vomitus, and personal and environmental hygiene.

     The investigation is ongoing. The CHP will closely monitor the institution and provide health advice as necessary.

     To prevent gastroenteritis, members of the public are advised to:

* Ensure proper personal hygiene;
* Wash hands thoroughly before handling food and eating, and after using the toilet;
* Wear gloves when disposing of vomitus or faeces, and wash hands afterwards;
* Clean and disinfect contaminated areas or items thoroughly with diluted household bleach (by adding one part of household bleach containing 5.25 per cent sodium hypochlorite to 49 parts of water);
* Maintain good indoor ventilation; and
* Avoid food that is not thoroughly cooked.

     Members of the public can obtain more information on the prevention of gastroenteritis from the CHP's website ( or call the Central Health Education Unit hotline, 2833 0111.

Ends/Monday, July 30, 2012
Issued at HKT 17:49


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