Hospitals step up restrictions as bug outbreak spreads
VISITOR restrictions remain in place at two hospitals after a serious outbreak of the highly-contagious winter vomiting bug.
Some 45 patients are currently displaying symptoms of the norovirus at Dublin's Beaumont Hospital, with the outbreak now in its third week. And a total of 153 patients and staff have been affected so far.
A spokesman for Beaumont Hospital said the public have heeded the visiting restrictions.
Currently it has been advised that only essential visits take place, with attendance confined to between 2pm and 4pm, and 6pm and 8pm.
"We're trusting that the public will heed the request from the hospital and work with us and cooperate, and there are signs that the public are heeding the restrictions," he said.
Fifty-nine patients have so far been hit with the condition at St Vincent's University Hospital in south Dublin since its outbreak about 10 days ago.
A hospital spokesman said 15 of those patients are currently being treated for the condition, which he said has been contained. Twenty-nine staff members have also fallen ill.
The public are being urged to only attend the emergency department at the Dublin hospital if necessary, and not to bring children.
And a spokesman appealed for people not to visit patients unless it is absolutely essential.
In Beaumont Hospital, 38 beds were unavailable while in St Vincent's 19 were out of action.
The main symptoms of the winter vomiting disease are vomiting and diarrhoea but patients can also develop headaches, muscle aches, fever and abdominal pain.
Patients only contract the illness for a matter of days and usually make a full recovery, but it can be highly infectious.
St Vincent's said members of the public that have stomach sickness should not attend the hospital but should in the first instance contact their GP if they have concerns.