Patients at Cork’s biggest hospital can only receive one named visitor a day as hospital management attempt to ensure a swine flu outbreak doesn’t spread.
There has been an outbreak of influenza in two wards at Cork University Hospital (CUH) and one of these cases has been confirmed as the H1N1 virus. In one ward at CUH, there are seven cases of influenza.
Microbiologists are testing to see if any of these patients also contracted the H1N1 strain.
The H1N1 strain is one of three flu strains that the seasonal flu jab protects against.
Management at CUH and the adjacent Cork University Maternity Hospital say the strict visiting restrictions have been introduced “in the interest of patient care and in order to curb the spread of the illness”.
“Only one named visitor is allowed per patient per day and no children are allowed. Visitors are asked to adhere to visiting times at CUH which are 2-4pm and 6.30-8pm,” a spokesman said.
Consultant respiratory physician Mike Henry added: “We would appeal to people not to visit the hospitals during this time. The flu virus is highly contagious and can seriously affect patients who are already sick in hospital. The outbreak sees emergency admissions and discharges from the hospital affected as patients with flu cannot be admitted to a ward or discharged to other healthcare facilities.”
Anybody with flu-like symptoms is asked not to present at CUH’s emergency department.
Outpatient clinics are continuing as normal.
The flu jab is available free of charge from GPs to all people in at-risk groups. However, an administration fee may be requested if you don’t have a medical or GP card. At-risk groups include the over-65s, people with chronic illness, those with lower immunity, pregnant women, the morbidly obese and health care workers and carers of those in at-risk groups.
H1N1 is known as the ‘swine flu’ as it was first detected in pigs. It was responsible for a flu pandemic in 2009/2010, but microbiologists say the current wave of influenza is not at pandemic levels.
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