East Surrey Hospital clear of vomit bug cases, but is still restricting visiting (From Redhill And Reigate Life)
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East Surrey Hospital clear of vomit bug cases, but is still restricting visiting
12:46pm Tuesday 15th January 2013 in Local News
East Surrey Hospital in Redhill was this week free of cases of winter vomiting disease but was still restricting visiting.
The hospital, which shut for what was believed to be the first time in its history for about a week from December 27 last year to try and clear the pre-Christmas outbreak on its wards, re-opened last week, but with restricted visiting hours in place.
Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, was still stressing this week to people feeling ill or fearing they had the highly infectious norovirus bug to stay away and call their GPs if necessary.
A spokeswoman for the Trust said the norovirus was still laying people low in the community and so their restrictions and warnings will stay in place.
But she warned the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has advised that it is expecting to see a third wave of the bug hitting the UK in the coming weeks.
Norovirus is the most common cause of infectious gastroenteritis - diarrhoea and vomiting - in England and Wales. Though sudden and involving projectile vomiting, the bug is generally mild and people usually recover fully within two to three days, with no long-term effects.
But infections can occur at any age because immunity is not long lasting, and norovirus causes serious disruption in hospitals at this time of year, and is often spread by people going into hospitals as visitors while still carrying the bug. The current norovirus outbreak has been far worse than those of previous years with health chiefs confirming the strain to be a more infectious one.
The Trust spokeswoman said: “I think at one point we got up to 11 wards affected.
“At the moment we are clear of symptoms but we are keeping visiting restricted for the time being to stop people bringing it in and giving it to the patients.”
She said currently visiting hours run from 3pm to 4pm and from 7pm to 8pm.
“We've had two waves of norovirus so far across the country, but the HPA are warning of a third wave across the UK,” she said, but added: “There is no indication of when or if it will happen.
“We are just being vigilant, we keep advising staff of enhanced infection and control measures, and asking visitors to be extra vigilant and to stay away if they feel unwell.”
The Trust is stressing that people who have had diarrhoea or vomiting should not come to the hospital for at least 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped. It is stressing people ill with the bug should stay at home, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, wash their hands and clean their toilets regularly to prevent the bug spreading, and call their GP or NHS Direct on 08454647 if they have concerns.