Vomiting bug shuts ward at Gorleston hospital

A hospital has had to shut one of its wards due to a vomiting bug and is asking people with symptoms to stay away.

Visitors are being asked to avoid James Paget University Hospital if they have had symptoms of diarrhoea and/or vomiting in the previous 48 hours to protect patients from a seasonal stomach bug.

Norovirus, more commonly known as the 'winter vomiting bug', is very infectious and can spread quickly through close contact.

The Gorleston-based hospital, which has been on the highest black alert for three weeks, has closed ward seven becaue of an outbreak of the bug.

The hospital is asking people with symptoms of unexplained, sudden onset diarrhoea and/or vomiting not visit its accident and emergency department for intial treatment, but should first contact their GP or out-of-hours service or phone NHS Direct on 0845 4647 for advice.

Patients due to go to the hospital for an operation or appointment and who have the symptoms should phone ahead to let the nursing staff know and to receive further advice.

Visitors to affected wards, which are marked clearly with yellow information posters, should wash their hands with soap and water when they enter and leave the ward. They also need to be extra careful not to carry infection in or out of the ward areas and should only visit one patient on one ward per visit to help stop the spread of norovirus.

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Visitors to unaffected wards should always use the alcohol hand rubs provided before and after visits.

Linda Hawtin, head of infection prevention and control at the hospital, said: 'We are committed to controlling the spread of infections in our hospital and have a dedicated and highly skilled infection control team that ensures all staff are aware of the symptoms and control measures for this virus.

'Our trust laboratory technicians can quickly confirm whether or not a patient has got Norovirus diarrhoea. Knowing this at an early stage allows us to take prompt action to minimise the spread of the virus if infection is confirmed.

'However it's just as important for members of the public to work with us to help prevent the spread of Norovirus.'