Ward remains closed after bug outbreak

A WARD at West Suffolk Hospital remains closed a week after an outbreak of norovirus, but health bosses are confident it has been contained.

Russell Claydon

A WARD at West Suffolk Hospital remains closed a week after an outbreak of norovirus, but health bosses are confident it has been contained.

Patients on the quarantined ward were last night the only ones to be displaying symptoms of the highly contagious “winter vomiting bug”.

Ward F7 was closed to new admissions last Tuesday after seven patients fell ill.


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Visitors are still being warned to stay away if they are feeling unwell or have been ill in the previous few days.

Dr Caroline Barker, the hospital's infection control doctor, said four patients were still showing symptoms of norovirus and the ward will remain closed until at least 72 hours after the patients have recovered.

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“As soon as the first patients started showing symptoms last week, we took steps to prevent the illness from spreading elsewhere in the hospital and have successfully contained it within ward F7,” said Dr Barker.

“We are managing these cases using our stringent infection control policies, which include carrying out enhanced cleaning on the affected ward and ensuring patients from F7 are not transferred elsewhere in the hospital.

“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.”

Sufferers of norovirus, often known as winter vomiting virus, get bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting which last for one or two days, but may remain contagious even after they start feeling better.

Dr Barker added: “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.”

Guidelines have been issued for anyone suffering from norovirus to stay at home, drink plenty of water and take paracetamol tablets to relieve a temperature. People with the virus only need to go into hospital if they are very young, very old or frail or are dehydrated.

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