Gastro outbreak at Bupa

Tumut’s Bupa Aged Care facility is reportedly in lockdown after an outbreak of gastroenteritis in the facility.

A Bupa spokesperson said six or seven people had been affected, including both residents and staff, and that the company was complying with public health guidelines to handle the incident.

“The health of our residents and staff is our top priority,” the spokesperson said.

One of those affected is 91-year-old Melba Bridle, who suffered from spells of vomiting and stomach pain on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

Ms Bridle’s daughter Kris Ballard expressed concern that her mother was not receiving appropriate medical attention.

“I don’t think she’s seen a doctor, there’s a doctor that comes on a Wednesday every fortnight so he was in today [speaking on Wednesday, March 15], but I don’t believe they asked him to check on mum,” she said.

“She’s 91, I would have thought since she has that bug there would be a medical concern but apparently not.

“She’s able to sleep now thankfully, but they’re short staffed again tonight so they’re all running around.

“There’s two staff members for two wings tonight I believe, and the two nurses have to do all the kitchen work as well since the kitchen staff can’t go in since they’re in lockdown. Two staff members can’t look after all those people!”

To the Tumut and Adelong Times’ knowledge, the gastroentinitis has not yet reached other locales in Tumut.

There have not been reported cases at the Tumut Hospital, Blakeney Lodge, Valmar, or the Neighbourhood Centre, and the Murrumbidgee Local Health District was unaware of any other cases as of Wednesday.

However, it is an extremely contagious infection and residents should ensure they pay extra attention to their hygiene standards while the bug is around.

According to the NSW Health Department, “Viral gastroenteritis is highly infectious and outbreaks are very common and can be difficult to control.

“Outbreaks often occur in institutional settings such as nursing homes, hospitals, child care centres and schools.

“There is no specific treatment for viral gastroenteritis except rest and drinking plenty of fluids. Most people will recover without complications. However, viral gastroenteritis can be serious for infants, people with suppressed immune systems and the elderly.”

The major symptoms are vomiting and diarrhoea, which generally last for one to two days.

Other symptoms include nausea, fever, abdominal pain, headache, muscle aches, and dehydration.

Reduce your risk by:

• Frequent hand washing with soap for at least fifteen seconds
• Reducing person-to-person contact with other people, such as shaking hands, especially if you know they are sick
• Avoiding sharing food and drinks
• Be aware that the bug can be spread up to 48 hours after symptoms have stopped
• If you have the illness, stay home and rest, and if your child has the illness do not let them go to school or other social activities
• Use rehydration salts such as hydrolyte, available from chemists, if you think you may be dehydrated