Got a story? Call 01273 544544 or email email@example.com
Vomit bug back at East Surrey Hospital
10:00am Tuesday 1st October 2013 in Local News
Two wards at East Surrey Hospital in Redhill have been closed to visitors with the return there of winter vomiting disease.
The highly infectious seasonal bug, also known as Norovirus, re-appeared at the hospital last week - by chance coinciding with a community health workshop being run with the aim of helping tackle and control the spread of the bug through the winter months.
A spokeswoman for Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said East Surrey chiefs took the decision to close Tandridge Ward to visitors at the end of last week.
She said as the number of people ill with the bug's severe but short-lived symptoms continued, Chaldon Ward was also shut to visitors. The spokeswoman said: “We are not sure how long that will continue for.”
As Life went to press this week, both in-patient wards were closed, and with patient samples being tested, the Trust could not say how many people were confirmed to be ill with Norovirus.
The spokeswoman said: “Our main priority is to stop anybody who may be infected coming into the hospital.”
She added: “The advice from GPs is don't go to see them, otherwise you just take it into the GP's surgery.”
The East Surrey's last outbreak of winter vomiting disease was in May this year, when Godstone, Meadvale, Hazelwood and Tandridge Wards were closed, and reduced visiting was re-introduced on all other wards.
The outbreak lasted about three weeks, with the hospital declared clear after measures were taken, including staff adopting stringent hygiene and containment rules.
Last year, the Trust introduced what is thought to have been its first blanket ban on visiting to deal with an outbreak of a particularly contagious strain of the bug, then said to be affecting numbers of patients on each hospital ward. Norovirus is the most common cause of infectious gastroenteritis - diarrhoea and vomiting - in England and Wales. The stomach bug is often prevalent in the community at this time of year, affecting between 600,000 and one million people in the UK each year.
Though sudden and involving projectile vomiting, Norovirus is generally mild and people usually recover fully within two to three days. There are no long-term effects from being infected but infections can occur at any age because immunity is not long lasting.
The Trust 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. Next month, the Trust will run an ‘Infection Control Week,’ which will also focus on good hand hygiene and cleanliness, and make all staff aware of the ‘Golden Rules for Norovirus’ strategy to control the disease.
Details of visiting restrictions at the East Surrey Hospital are displayed on the Trust’s website at: www.surreyandsussex.nhs.uk/patientsandvisitors They can also be heard on the hospital’s answerphone system.
Earlier last year, an outbreak of Norovirus prompted bed closures in some areas of the East Surrey, and an outbreak in 2011 laid low more than 20 people across four wards, with some areas closed to new patients, but no wards closed. In December 2008 and January 2009, Norovirus hit the hospital with 50 people falling ill in the first wave, and two wards being shut to incoming patients. In a resurgence about two weeks later, 18 more patients fell ill in four days. An outbreak in late 2009 peaked in January the following year when 34 people across six wards were ill. Wards were deep-cleaned, staff followed strict hygiene practises and people were advised then not to visit the hospital. The trust worked with Surrey and West Sussex Primary Care Trusts to ensure patients were treated as much as possible in the community, and advised people to stay away from the hospital unless absolutely necessary, and especially if they had been unwell in the previous week.