Virus outbreak closes two wards

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Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Two wards at West Suffolk Hospital have been closed to new patients after an outbreak of norovirus.

The hospital in Bury St Edmunds closed ward G4 on Christmas Day after seven patients showed signs of the highly contagious diarrhoea and vomiting bug. That figure was later reduced to three patients.

On Monday, the hospital decided to also close ward F3 after five patients showed symptoms of contracting the virus.

Previously, one bay on ward F3 was closed after four patients showed similar symptoms, while a further patient on F3 was in isolation.

The hospital took the decision to close the ward to prevent possible spreading.

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 the virus is very infectious with cases spreading from the community to hospital patients every year.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

She urged anyone visiting the hospital to be vigilant in cleaning their hands to prevent the spreading of germs.

“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,” added Ms Day.