HPSC advises employers to prepare for vomiting bug


The Health Protection Surveillance Centre today (Tuesday) issued advice for employers on how to deal with norovirus (aka winter vomiting bug), following an increase in the incidence of the illness.

HPSC Specialist in Public Health Medicine, Dr Paul McKeown said that because norovirus is highly contagious it can be very disruptive to organisations and can easily infect staff, customers and clients.

"It will never be possible to prevent this illness completely, but a few simple measures can greatly minimise its disruptive effects to business. Employers can prepare for the possibility of sickness in the workplace by having simple cleaning equipment available and staff assigned to clean and decontaminate soiled areas. Anyone who has norovirus should stay off work until their vomiting and diarrhoea has stopped and for 48 hours afterwards so that they do not infect others on their return.

It is one of the commonest forms of gastroenteritis - infecting as many as 5% of the population each year - and the main symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea. However patients can develop headaches, muscle aches, fever, and abdominal pain. The onset is sudden and the illness is generally mild, although it can be more severe in older people. It rarely lasts more than a couple of days and most people make a full and rapid recovery," he said.


The guidelines are available here.