Sickness outbreak that affected 56 at Porthcawl bar confirmed as norovirus – WalesOnline

An outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting linked to a Porthcawl bar was caused by norovirus, it has been confirmed.

The outbreak at the Hi-Tide bar in Porthcawl has been declared over after 56 people became unwell with diarrhoea and vomiting after attending private functions at the Hi-Tide on November 2, 2015.

Public Health Wales said the bar remains open, and the owners have continued to work with Bridgend County Borough Council to control the outbreak and to take measures to prevent further cases.

Sion Lingard, Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said: “We have identified the cause of the outbreak as Norovirus which is a common cause of diarrhoea and vomiting.

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Investigation after 50 people struck down with sickness bug following event at Porthcawl bar

“Norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis (stomach bugs) in Wales. Symptoms develop 24-48 hours after being infected with the virus and include nausea, vomiting and watery diarrhoea.

“Norovirus infection usually resolves within 1-2 days without any medical treatment, but it is important to drink plenty of fluids while unwell to prevent dehydration”.

A spokesperson on behalf of the Hi-Tide Bar in Porthcawl said: “After a small number of guests who visited the Hi-Tide reported feeling unwell last week, Bridgend County Borough Council’s Environmental Health department undertook an investigation. Following these extensive enquires it has been confirmed that the cause of the illness was in fact the Norovirus, and as such bears no causal link to the Hi-Tide.

“The Hi-Tide cooperated fully with the Environmental Health department and the investigation confirmed that our 5* rating for food hygiene was justified. We are confident that we provided, and will continue to provide, the very highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene when preparing food for our guests. Our staff remain committed to ensuring that we maintain these high standards going forward and that our guests receive the highest standard of service.

“We would like to wish all those affected a full and speedy recovery and we would also like to take this opportunity to thank our customers for their on-going support. We are now very much looking forward to enjoying the Christmas period with our guests.”

If symptoms are severe or last more than 48 hours then individuals should seek advice from their GP or NHS direct.

It is important that those who have been suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting stay off work or school until they have been symptom free for 48 hours to prevent spreading the infection to others. It is also very important that people thoroughly wash their hands after using the toilet and before eating or preparing food.

More information on Norovirus is available on the Public Health Wales website.

What is norovirus?

Who gets it and how serious is it?

Anyone can get norovirus and infection can occur at any age. Outbreaks of norovirus are reported frequently in institutions such as hospitals, schools, residential and nursing homes and hotels.

Anywhere that large numbers of people congregate for periods of several days provides an ideal environment for the spread of the disease. Healthcare settings tend to be particularly affected by outbreaks of norovirus.

The illness is self-limiting and the symptoms will last for 12 to 60 hours. People almost always make a full recovery within one or two days. However, some people (usually the very young or elderly) may occasionally become very dehydrated and require hospital treatment. More information about norovirus is available from NHS Direct Wales.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for norovirus apart from letting the illness run its course. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

How common is it?

Norovirus is not a notifiable disease so reporting is done on a voluntary basis, however in 2014, Public Health Wales commenced weekly reporting of gastroenteritis outbreaks in secondary care and community institutions in Wales. It is likely that norovirus accounts for the majority of these outbreaks. Please see the Surveillance of Norovirus section for more information.

The number of cases fluctuates from year to year and those reported to a laboratory represent only a small proportion of actual cases, as most people do not visit the doctor. Public Health England estimate that norovirus typically affects between 600,000 and a million people in the UK each year.

Prevention

It is unfortunately very difficult to prevent norovirus infections occurring in the community. However, taking good hygiene measures around someone who is infected, like frequent hand washing, will reduce the spread of infection.

There are five basic ways to manage diarrhoea and vomiting and prevent the spread of diseases such as norovirus:

  • Careful handwashing is the most important prevention measure that you can take. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water and dry afterwards. Do not share towels.
  • Use gloves when handling soiled articles from ill people. Wash soiled clothing and bed linen on ‘hot cycle’.
  • If looking after someone with gastroenteritis, carefully disinfect toilet seats, flush handles, wash-hand basin taps and toilet door handles daily and after use. Use a bleach-based household cleaner, diluted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Maintain good personal hygiene and hygienic preparation and serving of food.

If you have gastroenteritis, don’t return to school or work or prepare food until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours. Don’t visit patients in local hospitals and long-term care facilities. While many people tend to feel better sooner, illness can still be spread if they return to work or school within 48 hours since the last symptom.

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