Chief Health Officer Advisory – New strain of norovirus detected in Victoria
Issued to: Hospitals, residential facilities (including aged care and disability) and childcare settings.
- Risk of increased gastroenteritis – surveillance conducted by the Department and the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory has identified a new strain of norovirus in Victoria which may lead to a significant increase in cases and outbreaks of gastroenteritis due to norovirus, over the coming months.
- Be prepared – ensure staff are familiar with Guidelines for the investigation of Gastroenteritis and that staff practice rigorous personal hygiene at all times, with a focus on washing hands with soap and water.
- Be alert for norovirus in high risk groups and settings including public and private hospitals, residential facilities, childcare facilities and school camps..
- Identify outbreaks early by testing for norovirus. Ensure stool samples are sent for norovirus esting.
- Notify the department of all gastroenteritis outbreaks (i.e. two or more related cases).
- Advise exclusion – all confirmed norovirus cases who are food handlers, child care workers and health care workers must not work until 48 hours after symptoms have resolved. Staff should encourage all visitors to stay away if sick.
- Respond to outbreaks with required control measures – see Guidelines for the investigation of Gastroenteritis.
For the latest information about this issue see New strain of norovirus detected in Victoria