Strict visitor ban at St Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny

IN the interests of patient care and as precaution, a full ban on visiting is in place at St. Luke's General Hospital for Carlow/Kilkenny, in a bid to curb suspected cases of the Winter Vomiting Bug.

IN the interests of patient care and as precaution, a full ban on visiting is in place at St. Luke's General Hospital for Carlow/Kilkenny, in a bid to curb suspected cases of the Winter Vomiting Bug.

Visiting to all wards at St. Luke's is strictly prohibited, unless for exceptional circumstances (including critical care patients, Maternity visiting is restricted to partners/designated person only and Paediatric to parents using external access route). The hospital is closed to routine admissions, except for urgent emergencies and maternity cases. Day case procedures for Thursday 6th January and Friday 7th of January have been cancelled, this is being reviewed on a daily basis, however the Outpatients Department clinics will continue as normal.

The hospital regrets this inconvenience but it is necessary at this time. Where appropriate mobile phone contact between families should be considered as an alternative to visiting.

The situation in St. Luke's General Hospital for Carlow/Kilkenny will be kept under daily review and a range of infection control measures (featuring the visitor restrictions) are in place. Up to 11 instances of patients displaying symptoms consistent with the bug have been recorded at the hospital and some staff there have also been affected.

The hospital is also asking the public that only genuine emergencies should present at the Emergency Dept. in St. Luke's and where possible that people should consult their GP or Caredoc service in the first instance. The Emergency Dept. in St. Luke's remains very busy and is dealing with an increased level of treatment for fractures.

Ms. Anne Slattery, General Manager of St. Luke's General Hospital for Carlow/Kilkenny is asking the general public for their co-operation with the visiting restrictions and reiterated how important it is for patients that these infection control measures are respected saying:

"The vomiting bug is currently in the community and people may unknowingly bring the bug into the hospital when visiting sick relatives or friends. I would appeal to the public to co-operate with the restrictions currently in place and advise anyone who have been affected by vomiting and/or diarrhoea, or anyone who has had contact with persons with these symptoms, not to visit hospital until they have been symptom free for 72 hours. Patient care is our priority and we would urge the public to help hospital staff keep the virus at bay as it can further debilitate those who are already sick in hospital."

The vomiting bug known as Small Rounded Structured Viruses (SRSV) usually causes short-lasting outbreaks of abdominal pain and nausea followed by diarrhoea and/or vomiting. It is usually quite mild and rarely causes severe problems, however it may be quite unpleasant and debilitating in small children or older people who are already ill or infirm.

The virus is highly infectious and is spread by;

* direct contact with vomit or diarrhoea

* from someone who is ill, especially if personal hygiene is not good

* from the air around someone who has just vomited

* from contaminated food

People affected by the virus should drink plenty of fluids; maintain strict hygiene and because of the highly contagious nature of the virus and avoid visiting hospitals or nursing homes. If symptoms persist, contact your GP by telephone and advise him/her of your condition before going to the surgery so as to limit the spread of the virus.

Tips to avoid the bug:

*Wash hands carefully

*Clean surfaces with diluted household bleach

*Do not share towels

*Wash towels on hot cycle of washing machine.