Sickness bug outbreak hits hospital ward

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A WARD has been closed at Chesterfield Royal Hospital after an outbreak of the norovirus superbug.

The virus has symptoms including severe vomiting and diarrhoea, a temperature, headache, stomach cramps and aching limbs, which can last for between 12 and 60 hours.

To prevent the virus from spreading hospital bosses are advising anyone who was recently a patient and starts experiencing symptoms to stay at home for at least 72 hours after their recovery.

Diane Simpson, the senior matron for infection prevention and control, said: “We’ve had an outbreak on Basil ward and closed it to reduce the risk of cross-infection to other wards and departments of the hospital.

“We’re taking all of the usual precautions in terms of cleaning and good hand hygiene to complement that and will continue to do everything we can to prevent it spreading but we need help from the general public to do it.

“It is an incredibly infectious virus and spreads primarily through touch, so if you do suffer symptoms then please stay at home.

“Ensure you wash your hands before and after going to the toilet, keep surfaces clean, and do not go back to work or visit areas with lots of people until you’ve been symptom-free for 72 hours. That applies to children at school as well.”

Around 600,000 to one million people suffer from Norovirus in the UK every year – making the condition the country’s most common cause of stomach upset.

The virus is highly infectious, can survive on surfaces for several days and can spread by coming into contact with an infected person, touching surfaces or objects that haven’t been cleaned and by eating contaminated food.

Ms Simpson said: “It’s unusual but not uncommon to see outbreaks during this season and the Public Health Agency have issued a nationwide call for vigilance due to norovirus’s continued presence in the healthcare and wider communities.

“If you do experience the symptoms then make sure you get lots of rest and drink plenty of water.

“If symptoms persist or you become concerned then please don’t visit your GP, instead call them for advice.”

The hospital said advice can also be obtained by calling NHS Direct on 0845 4647.