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Virus-hit disability unit closed to new patients

A HOSPITAL unit for disabled people has been closed to further admissions following an outbreak of an 'influenza-like' virus and visiting restrictions have now been put in place.

The contagious virus, called human metapneumovirus (hMPV), broke out at St Joseph's Disability Service, which is part of the St Ita's Psychiatric Hospital campus in Portrane, north Dublin.

A HSE spokesperson told the Irish Independent that tests carried out last week confirmed the virus was the cause of a respiratory illness that has been affecting 11 of the residents at the unit.

It is a contagious virus, spread by coughing, sneezing and contact with respiratory secretions.

There is no specific treatment for the virus and the infection cannot be prevented by vaccination.

Frances Plunkett, communications officer of HSE Dublin North East said staff at the service were dealing with the outbreak and added "all necessary measures have been taken to minimise the risk of further spread".

Irish Independent