Three wards closed after hospital hit by norovirus

THREE wards have been closed to visitors at the University Hospital of Llandough following an outbreak of norovirus.

Parts of one ward at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, have also been closed after suspected cases of the bug.

The closures have been put in place to prevent the further spread of norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug.

The public are being asked to help stop the spread of norovirus in hospitals and to avoid visiting unless absolutely necessary over the coming weeks.

Dr Eleri Davies, the director for Infection Prevention and Control at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said that whilst norovirus is in general an unpleasant 48-hour illness for most, it can be more serious for those already in hospital.

“We are now seeing diarrhoea and vomiting infections in the community, with some infections also confirmed in the hospitals, this inevitably leads to some instances of ward closures," she said.

“It is very difficult to stop the spread of norovirus once it is in hospital so we are asking the public to help support us by restricting visiting to what is absolutely necessary

“If you are visiting friends or family in hospital then please heed the advice at the entrances to wards and practice good hand hygiene.”

Dr Davies also added that soap and water was the most effective way to wash hands and defend against norovirus.

As well as spreading quickly and being unpleasant for sufferers, the knock-on effect of outbreaks of norovirus for health services can be significant, leading to disruption in normal patient admission and treatment flows.

Dr Davies said taking simple precautions could help minimise the spread of the infection and urged those who have had diarrhoea or vomiting to wait until they are symptom free for at least two days before visiting friends and family in hospital or returning to work or school.

“We do have very robust procedures in place for managing norovirus, but the best defence is to avoid bringing it into hospitals in the first instance, so we would really ask everyone to think carefully before visiting hospitals over the next few weeks.

“If you are suffering from symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting and need to see a GP or attend hospital please inform your surgery or hospital about your symptoms, ideally by telephone before you attend.”

If you or a family member has a sickness bug, find out more on how to manage the symptoms and what to do by checking out the help that’s available on the NHS Direct website at www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/doityourself/symptomchecker/vomiting/

or the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk/conditions/Norovirus/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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