Maternity hospital hit by outbreak of swine flu
AN outbreak of swine flu amongst pregnant women and new mothers at one of the country's largest maternity hospitals led to a restriction on visitors last night.
The Rotunda Hospital in Dublin last night confirmed that a small number of women -- totalling less than 10 -- have tested positive for the the potentially fatal H1N1 virus within the past five days. No babies have been affected.
However, due to the potentially serious implications for pregnant women, new mothers, newborns and children, the hospital has ordered a ban on all children visiting the hospital.
Visitors are strictly limited to just one person for expectant and new mothers, parents of infants in the neonatal unit and gynaecology inpatients. Some of the infected patients have already been discharged.
"All of the infected women are being carefully monitored and are either recovering well or have already recovered," the hospital said in a statement last night.
Outpatient clinics will operate normally until further notice, but elective surgery has been cancelled and the hospital will reschedule appointments. Patients attending outpatient clinics have been advised not to have more than one person accompanying them.
The HSE last night refused to say if other hospitals have been affected. But spokespeople for some of the largest hospitals in the capital -- including the National Maternity Hospital Holles Street, The Mater, Beaumont Hospital, St James's Hospital and St Vincent's Hospital said no cases of swine flu had been reported.
A spokeswoman for the HSE said it is closely monitoring the situation and any cases would be reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). Officials from the HPSC could not be reached for comment last night.
The hospital is urging all pregnant women and mothers who have given birth within the last six weeks to get a seasonal flu vaccination.