2 Nov 2008

More staff to tackle gastroenteritis outbreak on campus

2:58 pm on 2 November 2008

Extra staff are on campus at Palmerston North's Massey University over the weekend to manage an outbreak of gastroenteritis.

More than 100 students have been treated by the university's Medical Centre and many more are known to be unwell with the highly contagious bug which causes vomiting and diarrhoea.

Exams were held on Saturday, but students who had the symptoms were advised to stay home.

Students who were too unwell to sit their exams were advised how to apply for Impaired Performance Consideration or Aegrotat.

A separate building was available for students who had been unwell but who still felt able to take their exam.

Two weeks ago there was a similar outbreak among students sitting exams at Lincoln University near Christchurch.

The MidCentral DHB's Medical Officer of Health, Patrick O'Connor, says it's unlikely the cases are connected.

And he says this outbreak has happened so quickly it may pass in just a few days.

The union representing the country's student associations says most universities are well prepared for situations such as the current outbreak of gastro-enteritis in Palmerston North.

The co-president of the New Zealand Union of Students' Associations Paul Falloon says the union's impressed universities have been promoting health and safety messages and are ready to help ill students.