Hospital bars visitors due to outbreak

AN ESSEX hospital has banned patients from having visitors in its efforts to beat a virulent illness.

Roddy Ashworth

AN ESSEX hospital has banned patients from having visitors in its efforts to beat a virulent illness.

Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford has temporarily closed its doors to people wanting to visit loved ones on its wards as part of its battle against norovirus, the “winter vomiting” bug.

This restriction comes after two wards - B4 and B8 - were closed to new admissions due to an outbreak of the virus, which has sporadically affected the hospital over the past few months.

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The hospital, like many others, has been affected by the disease on several occasions this winter and the bug is often brought by people from outside.

Dr Louise Teare, director of infection prevention and control at Mid Essex Hospitals, said: “We want to protect our patients and staff by restricting the chances of people spreading this infection.

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“For this reason, regrettably, we are asking that people do not visit.

“We know that this virus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is brought into the hospital from the community, so it is very important that people who have had the virus, or been in contact with someone who has had it, take precautions to avoid spreading it.”

Dr Teare said the ban would be reviewed on a daily basis.

She added that all patients, unless they are themselves suffering from norovirus, should still attend their hospital appointments, but hospital waiting list staff would be contacting anyone 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 causes vomiting and diarrhoea and is very easily spread from person to person.

The spread of infection is easiest in places where group of people are in close proximity for reasonable amounts of time such as residential homes, schools, hospitals and workplaces.

The illness lasts around two days and no treatment is required.

However, even after the symptoms have gone people can still carry the virus and infect others for up to three days.

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