UPDATED: West Suffolk Hospital closes wards after norovirus outbreak

Nichole Day, executive chief nurse, using portable sink at West Suffolk Hospital ANL-141013-153043001
Nichole Day, executive chief nurse, using portable sink at West Suffolk Hospital ANL-141013-153043001
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West Suffolk Hospital is hoping one of two wards closed after patients showed symptoms of norovirus will reopen by New Year’s Day.

The hospital took the decision to close ward G4 on Christmas Day after seven patients showed symptoms of the highly contagious diarrhoea and vomiting virus. That number was today (Tuesday) down to one, so cleaning other ward bays has started.

But ward F3 which closed yesterday after five patients showed norovirus symptoms, will remain closed to new admissions.

Portable sinks, which make it easier for visitors to clean their hands with soap and water, were stationed outside both wards for use when people arrive and leave.

Nichole Day, executive chief nurse at the Hospital, 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 several 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 72 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 wards, they should use the portable sinks to wash their hands with soap and water when they arrive and before they leave as the alcohol gel is not effective against this virus.”