Hinchingbrooke visitors warned away as Norovirus cases rise

Although the number of norovirus cases at Hinchingbrooke Hospital reduced yesterday (Friday) to 25, five wards are still closed to new admissions as a result and visitors are still warned to stay away unless asked to go in by ward managers. "Oak

Although the number of norovirus cases at Hinchingbrooke Hospital reduced yesterday (Friday) to 25, five wards are still closed to new admissions as a result and visitors are still warned to stay away unless asked to go in by ward managers.

"Oak, Lime, Maple, Beech and Willow wards will remain closed to inpatient admissions until 48 hours after the last incidence of symptoms. The situation will be continually reviewed to assess if and when affected wards can be reopened," a spokesman said last night.

"We also ask members of the public considering attending the accident and emergency department with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting to contact NHS Direct, their GP or their GP's out-of-hours service, in the first instance."

The hospital's maternity unit, treatment centre and outpatient services are not affected.


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The outbreak is being closely monitored by the hospital trust, the East of England Strategic Health Authority and Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust with the aim of bringing it to a conclusion as quickly as possible, she added.

Liz Pointing, director of nursing, midwifery and operations at Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust, said: "We thank the public for staying away from wards during this outbreak.

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"Following the outbreak last November we found that the most effective measures were to restrict visiting on wards and to limit the movement of patients, especially those affected. By following these procedures again and by increasing the cleaning of affected areas, we hope to bring this outbreak under control in the shortest period possible.

"The most effective way that the public can help us to help our patients is by not visiting affected wards and by following the restrictions we are putting in place with regards to visiting patients.

"Our staff, and the Infection Control Team and our cleaners in particular, are working incredibly hard to control this outbreak."

Norovirus is the most frequent cause of infectious gastro-enteritis in England and Wales. It is also known as the "winter vomiting virus" due to its seasonality and typical symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhoea. The symptoms usually last from 12 to 60 hours and may 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.

INFORMATION: Patients with scheduled admissions should call 01480 416420 or 01480 363678 for further information.

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