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Update 2 | Superintendent investigating hospital food after suspicious gastritis outbreak

Superintendent of Public Health investigating possible food poisoning, after 55 patients at Mater Dei and Karin Grech hospitals diagnosed with sudden onset gastritis

Jeanelle MIfsud
16 December 2016, 3:47pm
Last updated on 16 December 2016, 8:04pm
A number of wards at Mater Dei hospital have been closed to new admissions after number of patients developed sudden onset gastritis
A number of wards at Mater Dei hospital have been closed to new admissions after number of patients developed sudden onset gastritis
The Superintendence of Public Health is investigating the catering supplier of the Mater Dei and Karin Grech hospitals after some 55 patients were diagnosed with sudden onset gastritis, in what is suspected to be a case of food poisoning.

Earlier today, 30 patients from five different wards at Mater Dei were diagnosed with sudden onset gastritis, with the affected wards being isolated.

A similar outbreak of gastro-enteritis was reported at Karin Grech Hospital, with less than 25 patients from different wards reporting a sudden attack of vomiting and diarrhea.

The Superintendence of Public Health was roped in to investigate a possible case of food poisoning. In a statement this evening, Superintendent Richard Zammit said that laboratory analysis had detected norovirus in samples taken from the involved patients. Norovirus is the commonest cause of winter vomiting or gastric flu.

He said that a public health investigation is underway to establish the primary source of the infection, while an inspection at the hospitals’ catering supplier was carried out and a number of samples are being analysed.

He added that both hospitals have taken the “necessary steps in accordance to established policy” and that these precautions will continue “until the criteria for their cessation has been achieved”.

Both hospitals said that all the required infection control interventions and precautions have been implemented, in line with their policies.
Mater Dei Hospital has advised visitors to ensure they wash their hands before leaving affected wards, where signs have been affixed.

The two hospitals are both serviced by Malta Healthcare Caterers – a joint venture vetween St James Caterers and the Seabank Group of Companies. 

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