Virus update: Broomfield Hospital remains closed after outbreak

PUBLISHED: 13:42 03 February 2010 | UPDATED: 07:32 30 May 2010

BROOMFIELD Hospital today (Wednesday) remains closed to visitors in order to stop the spread of the winter vomiting bug, Norovirus. Three wards, B4, B8 and B24 are now temporarily closed to all new admissions due to the virus. Broomfield Hospital, like ma

BROOMFIELD Hospital today (Wednesday) remains closed to visitors in order to stop the spread of the winter vomiting bug, Norovirus.

Three wards, B4, B8 and B24 are now temporarily closed to all new admissions due to the virus.

Broomfield Hospital, like many other hospitals countrywide, has been affected by the virus on several occasions over recent months and this decision has been taken to bring the situation under control.

The situation is being reviewed on a daily basis. However, until the hospital is given the all clear, people are still being asked not to visit.

Patients (unless affected by Norovirus) should still attend for their hospital appointments, but hospital waiting list staff will be contacting all patients who are due to come in for planned surgery to check they have not had the virus recently or been in contact with anyone who has.

The Norovirus stomach bug, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea, is very easily spread from person to person. The illness lasts around two days and no treatment is required, however, even after the symptoms have cleared up people may still carry the virus and infect others up to three days after their own symptoms have stopped.

What is Noroviruses?

Noroviruses are a group of viruses that are the most common cause of gastroenteritis (stomach bugs) in England and Wales, affecting up to one million people a year. Norovirus has also been called "winter vomiting virus".

How does it spread?

The virus is easily transmitted from one person to another. It can be transmitted by contact with infected person(s); by consuming contaminated food or water or by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of norovirus infection will begin around 12 to 48 hours after becoming infected. The illness is self-limiting and the symptoms will last for 12 to 60 hours. They will start with the sudden onset of nausea followed by projectile vomiting, and watery diarrhoea. Some people may have a raised temperature, headaches and aching limbs. Most people make a full recovery within one to two days, however some people (usually the very young or elderly) may become very dehydrated and require hospital treatment.

Why does norovirus often cause outbreaks?

Norovirus often causes outbreaks because it is easily spread from one person to another and the virus is able to survive in the environment for many days. As there are many different strains of norovirus, and immunity is short-lived outbreaks tend to affect more than 50 per cent of susceptible people. Outbreaks usually tend to affect people who are in semi-closed environments such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools and on cruise ships.

How can these outbreaks be stopped?

The most effective way to respond to an outbreak is to disinfect contaminated areas and to institute good hygiene measures including hand-washing and provide advice on food handling and also isolating those infected for up to 48 hours after their symptoms have ceased.

How is norovirus treated?

There is no specific treatment for norovirus apart from letting the illness run its course. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

When can I visit if I've had the virus/been in contact with someone who has had the virus?

If you have been free of the symptoms mentioned above for more than 48 hours or the person/s you have been in contact with has been free of the symptoms then it is acceptable to visit the hospital. If your symptoms are more recent than that we strongly recommend that you don't visit.

IF IN ANY DOUBT DON'T VISIT.

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