Two people from Illawarra aged care facilities died after being transferred to hospital.
The director of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Health District’s Public Health Unit, Curtis Gregory, said the unit was interviewing patients and staff, and doing tests to track the source.
He said while the spread of the outbreak had slowed, it was unlikely to be over yet.
Mr Gregory said initial investigations into salad as the source of the food poisoning have expanded.
“It may be feasible that it’s caused by lots of other things on the menu, including cakes, pies, meat, vegetables and several other things,” he said.
Oh, Bundaberg, we’ve been there and like your rum, but really, 35 residents and 27 staff at an aged care sickened by norovirus?
“The staff did a great job in containing the outbreak,” service manager Hazel Lindholm said.
“It could have been a lot worse.”
The service deployed “bacteria bombs” in its fight against the dangerous virus that swept the facility – a new best-practice infection control solution used across Churches of Christ Care for the past 12 months.
Mr Mason said the bombs had received “exceptional results” for the health and wellbeing of clients in the past.
The bombs release a fog which permeates through all surfaces and furnishings in a room, including down drains and plugholes.
They attack dangerous pathogens including norovirus and H1N1 influenza, with no viruses remaining following a treatment.
“The bombs, which we use in conjunction with normal scrubbing of floors and surfaces as part of infection control procedures, offer cost and time benefits eliminating the need for staff to wash the curtains, bedding and clothing for each resident in each room, which is particularly time consuming and inefficient during an outbreak situation,” Mr Mason said.
Health officials have recommended puppies be banned from aged care facilities after two outbreaks of Campylobacter gastroenteritis in a Canberra nursing home.
But trained adult dogs will still be able to visit aged care homes.
The Age reports a paper to be presented at a Communicable Diseases Conference in Canberra on Tuesday will outline how15 people were infected during two separate gastroenteritis outbreaks in the nursing home between April and June last year.
A healthy four-month-old puppy was identified as the likely cause of the outbreaks and excluded from the facility.
”Campylobacter jejuni was recovered from both human and canine faecal samples,” the study findings said.
”A review of published literature showed puppies extensively shed Campylobacter species.
”The [aged care] setting and low infective dose also made transmission likely, despite the varying degrees of contact between the puppy and cases.
”While infection control practices were generally appropriate, the facility’s animal policy did not adequately address potential zoonotic risk.”