Sheffield ward shuts as bug cases rise

Sheffield's Northern General Hospital
Sheffield's Northern General Hospital
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A hospital ward in Sheffield has been closed to new admissions while others are under restrictions following an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug.

An increasing number of patients are being treated for Norovirus at the Northern General Hospital - and health chiefs are urging people not to visit if they have been sick within the last three days, to avoid passing on the bug.

Prof Hilary Chapman, chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said cases of Norovirus have been low so far this winter, but this has begun to change.

“Levels in the community are now increasing and this is being reflected in the hospital,” she said. “We are currently treating a number of patients with Norovirus at the Northern General.

“We have temporarily closed one ward to new admissions and in some other wards we have restricted admissions to part of the ward as a precautionary measure to prevent the bug spreading.”

Although most people make a full recovery within two days, the bug can make hospital patients weak and dehydrated. It can also interfere with medications.

Prof Chapman added: “We are asking the public for their help in preventing the spread of this nasty winter bug as cases are rising.

“The public can help us by thinking about whether they or anyone close to them such as family, friends or colleagues have had diarrhoea, vomiting or fever within the last 72 hours.

“If this is the case then they should avoid visiting the Northern General, Royal Hallamshire, Weston Park or Jessop Wing hospitals and use alternative methods of contact to minimise the risk of the bug coming into wards from people in the community.”

People who do visit should wash their hands with soap and hot water when entering and leaving wards, and avoid sitting on patients’ beds or chairs.

Visitors should also ‘not be afraid to check’ whether staff have decontaminated their hands by washing them with soap and water, or an alcohol hand rub.