Norovirus closes West Suffolk Hospital ward for second time

Hand washing is vital to protect against the spread of norovirus.

Hand washing is vital to protect against the spread of norovirus.

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Ward G4 at West Suffolk Hospital has closed to new admissions for the second time this winter due to three cases of norovirus being confirmed.

The ward was also closed for several days in November for the same reason.

Norovirus is a highly contagious diarrhoea and vomiting virus and anyone visiting is urged to take extra care to wash their hands with soap and water both on arrival and when leaving the ward.

Rowan Procter, chief nurse at the West Suffolk Hospital Trust, said: “Norovirus is very infectious and every year there are cases in the community which transfer to the hospital. Because the virus has an incubation period of a few days, people are often unaware that they are carrying it until after they have passed it on.

“We would advise anyone who has had diarrhoea or vomiting to stay away from the hospital for at least 48 hours after they have recovered, even if they feel better.

“Otherwise they run the risk of unknowingly passing the highly contagious illness on to someone who is already sick.

“Anyone who visits the hospital should be vigilant and take care to clean their hands. If they are visiting the affected ward, they should use soap and water when they arrive and before they leave as the alcohol gel is not effective against this virus.”

People with norovirus should rest and take plenty of non-caffeinated drinks to avoid dehydration. They should not visit their GP surgery or emergency department but recover naturally at home.

There is no specific treatment, although over the counter medicines, such as rehydration powders and paracetamol, can help to alleviate symptoms.

If people are worried about their symptoms they can ring NHS 111 or visit their local pharmacy, to receive advice, especially those at greater risk of dehydration from diarrhoea and vomiting, such as children under the age of five or older people.

For more information and advice on norovirus click here