Hinchingbrooke bosses urge patients to stay away

DO not visit Hinchingbrooke Hospital, in Huntingdon, unless absolutely necessary, to help control an outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting, managers are pleading. The hospital has been closed to in-patient admissions since last week, and the hospital is now

DO not visit Hinchingbrooke Hospital, in Huntingdon, unless absolutely necessary, to help control an outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting, managers are pleading.

The hospital has been closed to in-patient admissions since last week, and the hospital is now asking patients to try to avoid attending the accident and emergency department. Out-patient appointments are not affected.

"In the past 24 hours we have seen six new cases of diarrhoea and vomiting, while seven cases are still ongoing. There are also seven members of staff affected by the virus," a hospital spokesman said on Monday afternoon.

Affected wards are Oak, Lime, Maple, Cedar and Beech and the situation will be continually reviewed to assess when these wards can be opened.

"Norovirus, or the winter vomiting virus, is prevalent in the community, and we again ask for the public's co-operation by not visiting the hospital unless absolutely necessary or with the permission of staff.

"We also ask members of the public considering attending the accident and emergency department to contact their GP, or GP out-of-hours service, in the first instance.

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"Outpatient appointments will remain unaffected and patients brought to accident and emergency as emergency cases will still be seen. Patients with scheduled admissions should call 01480 416056 or 01480 416057 for further information.

"Norovirus is the most frequent cause of infectious gastro-enteritis in England and Wales," the spokesman added. "The symptoms usually last from 12 to 60 hours and will start with the sudden onset of nausea followed by projectile vomiting and/or diarrhoea.

"Norovirus affects people of all ages. Most people recover very quickly, but immunity to it is short-lived and it is easily transmitted from one person to another. It thrives in semi-closed environments where large numbers of people congregate, so schools, nursing homes and hospitals are most affected.

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