A HIGHLY contagious diarrhoea and vomiting virus has forced West Suffolk Hospital to close two wards.
Ward F10 was closed to new admissions on Sunday after 13 patients showed symptoms of norovirus. On Tuesday, three patients on ward G4 showed symptoms and the ward was closed.
Staff at the Bury St Edmunds hospital are taking steps to stop the illness from spreading further, including carrying out enhanced cleaning and ensuring patients from the affected wards are not transferred elsewhere in the hospital.
Additional signs have been put up to remind visitors to wash their hands with soap and water, while anyone who has shown symptoms of the virus is being urged to stay away.
Sue Partridge, deputy infection control doctor at the 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.
“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.”