Hotel guests hit by vomitting bug

More than 50 guests enjoying their festive break at a famous Norfolk hotel were laid low by a sickness bug over Christmas and the new year.

More than 50 guests enjoying their festive break at a famous Norfolk hotel were laid low by a sickness bug over Christmas and the new year.

"Deep clean" measures put in place by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) are being carried out at the three-star Blakeney Hotel following two outbreaks of an infection thought to be the Norovirus.

About 50 guests and six staff at the sixty-room hotel came down with vomiting and diarrhoea between Christmas Day and December 28.

A second wave of infection on New Year's Eve affected at least four guests but hotel bosses believe that there are now no infected guests on the site.

The HPA and environmental health officers have been into the hotel and advised managers to "deep clean" areas such as rooms used by guests who were sick, kitchens, toilets and public spaces.

Under the measures, those who were ill were asked to stay in their rooms, the hotel was sterilised using powerful disinfectant, the toilets are being cleaned every hour-and-a-half and contract cleaners are being brought in.

Most Read

A spokesman for the HPA praised the hotel for following its guidance and said the illness is thought to have been spread by people -possibly a visiting guest - rather than originating in the building.

The privately-owned hotel prides itself on its quayside location with expansive views across the salt marshes to Blakeney Point - with room prices ranging from £77 to £119 per person per night.

A spokesman for the hotel said: "We have been in close contact with the Environmental Health Authority and Health Protection Agency and have followed their advice and they can confirm the hotel has done and is continuing to do all it can to eradicate the virus.

"To the best of our knowledge we currently have no guests in the hotel affected by this illness."

The hotel has been classed as a Safe Food Better Business Champion - a scheme set up by the district council to recognise local businesses with high standards of hygiene.

Yesterday there were no public notices on its website warning prospective guests about the outbreak.

HPA spokesman Ian Mallet said: "We had our first notification on December 27 that there were five people who become unwell who were guests at the hotel.

"Working with environmental health officers we recommended that infection control measures were put in place at the hotel and have since recommended that a deep clean is carried out."

He said the problem was that the symptoms of the virus usually cleared up within 48-hours while it remained infectious for 72-hours.

The HPA is carrying out laboratory tests to confirm the infection is the Norovirus.

Although nine guests were examined by local doctors the infection is very difficult to treat medically because it is a virus and the most effective treatment is to sit it out.

Last month outbreaks of the Norovirus across the UK affected 10 hospital wards and forced one school in Leicester to temporarily close.