Ward closes in hospital due to virus

IPSWICH Hospital has closed a ward to new admissions after several patients showed symptoms of winter vomiting disease.

IPSWICH Hospital has closed a ward to new admissions after several patients showed symptoms of winter vomiting disease.

It is reported that eight patients are suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting on Kesgrave Ward, a specialist medicine ward, and the hospital is investigating whether the cases are the highly-contagious norovirus.

Steps have been taken to stop the illness from spreading while visitors who have shown symptoms of the virus are being urged to stay away.

Hospital visitors are also being asked to help by following key hygiene messages.

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Cath Gorman, head of quality at the hospital, said: “Our biggest message is please don't visit a loved one or friend if you are sick yourself.

“If you are able to visit, please make sure you wash your hands with soap and water on arrival to the ward, and wash them again before you leave the ward.”

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Nursing and infection control teams are working hard to manage the current cases using stringent infection control practices, including isolating patients in single-bed rooms. Patients elsewhere in the hospital are being closely monitored.

Cleaning staff have also been working exceptionally hard since the ward closed yesterday.

Norovirus affects hundreds of people in the community each year and because the hospital is part of the community, the cases do transfer. Sufferers get bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting, which last for one or two days, but may remain contagious even after they start feeling better. As 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.

Miss Gorman added: “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.”

Anyone suffering from norovirus should stay at home, drink plenty of water and take paracetamol tablets to relieve a temperature. People with the virus may need to come into hospital if they are very young, very old or frail or are having problems with dehydration.

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