Kim Briscoe, Health correspondent
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
An outbreak of norovirus has affected four wards at Norwich’s flagship hospital.
"It is that time of year where we see norovirus circulating in the community and our advice is to wash your hands as a matter of routine with hot, soapy water. "
No blanket restrictions have been put in place at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, but it is appealing for people to avoid visiting the affected wards unless necessary.
It is also asking hospital visitors to avoid bringing children under the age of 12 with them. This is because children are more likely to pick up the virus and pass it on.
The four wards - Earsham, Gunthorpe, Holt and Langley - are closed to new admissions because of the contagious stomach bug, which is currently circulating widely in the community.
The N&N is stressing that the most important advice is not to visit hospital if you have had a stomach bug or been in close contact with someone who has over the previous three days. Washing hands with hot water and soap is also essential for all visitors.
Dr Ngozi Elumogo, director of infection prevention and control at the N&N, said: “It is that time of year where we see norovirus circulating in the community and our advice is to wash your hands as a matter of routine with hot, soapy water.
“Hand sanitisers and alcohol gel will work against some bacteria and flu viruses but they will not protect you against norovirus.
“We remove hand sanitisers from ward areas during norovirus outbreaks and ask people to wash their hands instead.
“To keep norovirus out of hospitals, it is important that people do not visit patients if they have been ill with a stomach bug in the past few days or in close contact with someone who has had sickness or diarrhoea.”