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Press Release

CHP investigates acute gastroenteritis outbreak at elderly home

16 October 2012

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (October 16) 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 an elderly home in North District involving 18 residents and three staff members.

The affected residents comprising 14 females and four males aged between 74 to 97, together with three staff members, presented with symptoms of acute gastroenteritis, including vomiting and diarrhoea, since October 11.

Two of them were admitted to North District Hospital. All the 21 affected people are in stable condition.

Rectal swabs or stool specimens of three affected residents tested positive for norovirus. Investigation is continuing.

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

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.

16 October 2012