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Gastro closes Lakeshore hospital to visitors

 Lakeshore General Hospital has closed its doors to the public until further notice in the wake of an outbreak of gastroenteritis.

The visitor ban issued Monday was introduced after several patients became symptomatic on Sunday and gastroenteritis was suspected, said Sandrine Charpentier, a spokesperson for the CSSS de l’Ouest de l’Île, which oversees the hospital.

In all, 30 patients, primarily from one unit although not exclusively, have come down with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, symptoms all associated with the illness, said Katherine Wadas, a nurse clinician with the CSSS responsible for disease prevention and control at the hospital.

 The patients’ illnesses have yet to be confirmed, however, said Wadas.

Specimens were sent to a provincial microbiology laboratory as patients fell ill but test results are not yet available. They are expected in three to five days. 

Gastroenteritis is highly contagious iup to 48 hours after symptoms disappear. The visitor ban has been brought in as a preventive measure, Wadas said.

She stressed no hospital employees working in food preparation have come down with the illness but at this point the cause of the outbreak is unknown.

On Tuesday, a recorded message on the main line to the hospital requested that people keep in touch with loved ones who have been admitted to hospital by telephone.

Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines characterized by a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, discomfort after eating and sometimes diarrhea.

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