Suspected norovirus outbreak at Barrow and Lancaster hospitals

THE University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) is asking the public to be vigilant following a suspected outbreak of norovirus on a number of wards at Furness General Hospital and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

All visitors to both hospitals are asked to refrain from visiting if they have experienced diarrhoea or vomiting until they have been symptom free for 72 hours – unless they need emergency treatment.

Jackie Holt, Executive Chief Nurse, UHMBT, said: “We continue to ask that people stay away if they have been sick or had diarrhoea in the last 72 hours or been in close contact with someone who has, unless they require emergency treatment.

“For everyone that does enter the hospitals, we would ask that they wash their hands with soap and water before entering ward areas. Alcohol gel is not effective against norovirus.”

The norovirus illness affects up to a million people in the UK each year and does not last long and people usually recover between 12 and 60 hours without treatment other than rest and lots of fluids. It is found in the community and is easily transmitted. The bug affects schools, workplaces and other areas where groups of people are in close proximity, such as hospitals.

The elderly and young can be more vulnerable to the infection and anyone with concerns should call NHS Direct on 0845-4647.

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