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Qld hospital takes action to limit lethal outbreak

Lethal Qld virus outbreak control defended
Photo: Lethal Qld virus outbreak control defended
Health authorities say they've done everything they can to prevent further deaths from a respiratory virus outbreak at a Queensland aged care hospital.

Health authorities say they've done everything possible to prevent further deaths at a Queensland aged care hospital where a respiratory virus outbreak has killed four people.

The deaths occurred at the Herberton Hospital near Cairns where tests have confirmed the presence of human metapneumovirus (hMPV).

The region's director of public health, Dr Richard Gair, said infection control measures were put in place on the same day it became apparent there had been an outbreak of the virus.

"It's not clear to me what else we could have done to prevent further cases," he told ABC Radio on Monday.
"There has been no further cases since the day after we put those measures in place."

The control measures include limiting visitors, restricting new admissions and asking unwell staff to stay home.

Those who died were aged in their 90s.

Six residents still have symptoms of the virus and 11 staff remain ill.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has described the deaths as unacceptable and plans to raise the issue with the health minister.

Thirty-six people live at the Herberton Hospital, which provides aged care as well as respite and palliative care.

Severe symptoms of hMPV include wheezing, difficulty breathing, hoarseness, coughing and pneumonia.

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