Virus closes wards to new admissions

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TWO wards at West Suffolk Hospital were closed to new admissions after several patients showed symptoms of the highly contagious norovirus.

Ward F10 was closed on Sunday after 13 patients showed symptoms of the diarrhoea and vomiting virus.

Another three patients also displayed symptoms on ward G4, which was closed on Tuesday morning.

Staff are carrying out advanced cleaning and ensuring affected patients are not transferred around the hospital in an attempt to stop the illness from spreading.

On Thursday, five cases were ongoing on F10 and there were no further cases on G4, which is due to reopen tomorrow.

Anyone visiting the ward is advised to make sure they wash their hands both on arrival and when they leave the hospital.

Sue Partridge, deputy infection control doctor at West Suffolk 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.

“We are managing the current cases using our stringent infection control policies and are working hard to prevent the infection from spreading to any other wards.

“Our cleaning staff have also been carrying out enhanced cleaning in the affected area.

“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.

“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.”