Fourth ward shuts to halt bug outbreak at Sheffield hospital

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FOUR wards have now been closed to new admissions at a Sheffield hospital to control an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug norovirus.

Visitors have been urged to stay away from the wards at the Northern General Hospital unless absolutely necessary, as measures are put in place to halt the spread of the contagious bug which can leave patients weak and dehydrated.

Three wards were closed temporarily on Monday, with another being shut yesterday as more cases of norovirus emerged.

“Closing the wards is the safest way to protect patients,” said a hospital spokesman.

“It obviously limits the chance of the virus spreading.”

People who feel they have to go to the hospital are asked to follow steps to reduce the bug’s spread.

Visitors should wash their hands with soap and hot water when entering and leaving the ward, and check whether staff have done the same.

The hospital is also asking people not to visit if they have been unwell in the previous 72 hours.

Hilary Chapman, chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is just one of the precautions we take to limit other patients being affected. We are also asking the public for their help in preventing the spread of this nasty winter bug.

“Every winter, norovirus becomes active in the local community and we begin to see patients with it on our wards.”

Although most people make a full recovery within one or two days, the bug can sometimes interfere with the medication that patients are taking.