Hostel gastro outbreak halted

AN outbreak of viral gastroenteritis that has affected 25 residents of the Wommin Bay Hostel aged-care facility at Kingscliff has now been contained, the centre's management has confirmed.

The viral gastric outbreak is thought to have been introduced to the hostel by a resident returning from a stay in hospital after being treated for an unrelated con- dition.

Wommin Bay Village CEO Helen Grant said immediate action was taken to close down activities at the village, with access for visitors restricted to limit the spread of the virus.

"The public health unit was notified and its guidelines were carried out to the letter in caring for those affected," Ms Grant said.

"Doctors were notified of the situation and were on hand to help if the situation worsened.

"Any resident who showed the slightest symptoms of dehydration was taken to hospital," Ms Grant said.

The viral outbreak in Kingscliff follows an investigation into the death of 10 elderly people at Endeavour Nursing Home in Springwood, in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.

NSW Health launched the investigation on Friday, with preliminary results indicating that not all of the deaths were caused by residents being affected by a gastro bug, Premier Morris Iemma said yesterday.

The deaths were believed to be linked to two gastroenteritis outbreaks in mid and late June which struck more than 80 residents of the nursing home.

"At this stage, it appears that a number of the 10 deaths were related to causes separate from the gastro outbreaks," he said.

"Some of the residents who died were not affected by those outbreaks ... but this is a concern."

Health experts from the Food Authority were conducting audits at the home to determine the source of the outbreaks, he said.

Mr Iemma said he was only informed of the deaths on Friday and denied the government had tried to cover up the incident.

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