Ward G8 at West Suffolk Hospital has today (8 March) closed to new admissions after patients showed symptoms of norovirus.
A total of eight patients have shown symptoms of the highly contagious diarrhoea and vomiting virus.
Anyone visiting has been urged to take extra care to wash their hands with soap and water when arriving and leaving the ward, while anyone who has shown symptoms of the virus has been asked to stay away.
Rowan Procter, interim 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 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.”
Simple steps the public can take to help stop norovirus spreading include:
* Washing hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, particularly after using the toilet and before preparing food.
* Disinfecting any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated with norovirus using a bleach-based household cleaner.
* Flushing the toilet after use and keep the surrounding area clean and hygienic.
* Washing any clothing or linen which could have become contaminated using hot, soapy water.
Anyone who has norovirus should rest and drink plenty of non-caffeinated drinks to avoid dehydration. Although people should recover naturally at home with no specific treatment, over the counter medicines such as paracetamol can help relieve symptoms.
Those who are worried about their symptoms or are at greater risk of dehydration from diarrhoea and vomiting, such as young children or older people, should ring NHS 111 or visit their local pharmacist for advice.
For more information and advice, visit www.nhs.uk/staywell