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Sick A&E nurses should go home

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A&E nurses who contract viral infections should be sent home at the first sign of illness and not return to work until they are symptom free for 48hours, say Scottish researchers.

Following an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis among A&E staff at Glasgow Royal Infirmary (GRI) in 2006, questionnaires were sent to all 82 members of staff within the emergency department.

The study authors found that, over a 51-day period, just under half of all staff were affected, 56% of which were nurses.

They said: ‘During this outbreak many staff came to work despite being unwell, as they were aware the department was short staffed. This reflects commendable loyalty but increases the risk of secondary infection of others.’

Emergency Medicine Journal (2007) 24: 699-702

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