Hospital remains closed after norovirus outbreak

West Suffolk Hospital remained closed today following an outbreak of the highly contagious norovirus.

West Suffolk Hospital remained closed today following an outbreak of the highly contagious norovirus.

Five wards remain shut to new admissions after patients showed symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting.

The hospital, which closed to visitors last Wednesday in an attempt to contain the outbreak, also remains shut, with exceptions made for people visiting paediatric, intensive care and palliative care patients.

Access to the hospital remains restricted, with the rear entrance shut to the public. Two members of staff are on duty at the front entrance to explain the situation to visitors and ask them to stay away.

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In addition, staff and outpatients coming into the hospital are being asked to wash their hands with soap and water using portable sinks placed in the foyer, both when arriving and leaving the building, as alcohol gel is not effective against the virus.

Executive chief nurse and director of infection prevention and control at the hospital, Nichole Day, said: 'We would like to thank visitors for their patience and understanding so far, and would urge them to continue to help us control this outbreak by staying away from the hospital site.

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'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. That is why we're asking everyone to stay away - even if they do not feel unwell.'

Outpatients or staff members who have had symptoms of norovirus should stay away from the hospital until at least 72 hours after their last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting to limit the chances of the illness spreading.

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