Norovirus outbreak at West Suffolk Hospital forces closure of two wards to new patients

Improved entrance at West Suffolk Hospital has been unveiled.

Improved entrance at West Suffolk Hospital has been unveiled. - Credit: Contributed

Two wards at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds have been closed after patients showed symptoms of norovirus over Christmas.

The hospital took the decision to close Ward G4 to new admissions on Christmas Day after seven patients showed symptoms of the contagious diarrhoea and vomiting virus.

That number has today reduced to three.

Meanwhile, Ward F3 closed today after five patients also showed norovirus symptoms.

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

Nichole Day, executive chief nurse 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 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.

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“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.”

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