Hospital hit by major bug outbreak

MARK NICHOLLS Norfolk's biggest hospital is battling with a major stomach bug outbreak.Five wards are affected with several patients feared to have contracted the condition at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

MARK NICHOLLS

Norfolk's biggest hospital is battling with a major stomach bug outbreak.

Five wards are affected with several patients feared to have contracted the condition at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Hospital bosses say norovirus is currently circulating in the local community and have asked visitors to stay away if they have symptoms of diarrhoea and/or vomiting to try to limit the spread of the stomach bug currently affecting wards.

The N&N has one ward closed to new patients (Kimberley Ward) as three bays are affected with eight suspected cases. Other cases are scattered through the hospital but the patients are being isolated in side rooms or separate bays on wards.

Dr Judith Richards, consultant microbiologist at the N&N, said: “It's very important that people who have had the virus, or been in contact with someone who has had it, take precautions to avoid spreading it. That means not going back to work or school until three days after the symptoms have stopped.

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“People should also avoid visiting places like hospitals and residential homes if they have had the bug or been in contact with it over the past three days. Alcohol gel is effective against bacteria but not all viruses, therefore we are recommend that, as a matter of routine, all visitors should also wash their hands with hot water and soap when visiting our wards, and we would be very grateful if more visitors could follow that guidance."

The Norovirus stomach bug (also know as gastroenteritis) causes nausea and/or diarrhoea and is very easily spread from person to person. The spread of infection is easiest in places where group of people are in close proximity for reasonable amounts of time such as residential homes, schools, hospitals and workplaces.

The virus lasts around two days and no treatment is required, however, even after the symptoms have cleared up people may still carry the virus and infect others up to three days after their own symptoms have stopped.

West Suffolk Hospital at Bury St Edmunds, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King's Lynn and the James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston say they are clear of the bug.