Norovirus closes hospital wards

paysd'Sheffield's Northern General Hospital
paysd'Sheffield's Northern General Hospital

VISITORS are being urged to stay away from Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital after an outbreak of Norovirus closed three wards.

Doctors were forced to close three wards to new admissions and take 25 beds out of use after a rise in the number of patients affected by the winter vomiting bug.

This number has now fallen to 19 but the virus is still spreading within the community.

The infection is extremely contagious, causing diarrhoea, vomiting and fever. It spreads through personal contact as well as in food and water.

Chris Morley, Deputy Chief Nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “We have had an increase in incidents of Norovirus over the last few days as the virus is currently very active in the community.

“Lots of people are suffering from the illness but still coming in to visit friends and relatives in hospital which then passes it on.

“It is for this reason that we are asking visitors to support our efforts by not visiting hospitals if they have had symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting in the last 72 hours.

“We understand that sometimes visitors feel they must take every opportunity to visit sick friends or relatives, however, if they themselves have been unwell they could be putting others at risk.”

Those who do visit the hospital are asked to take simple steps to limit the spread of infection. Visitors should use the alcohol hand cleanser provided on entering and leaving the ward and wash their hands before and after contact with a patient.

They are asked not to sit on the patient’s bed or chair – visitors’ chairs are provided. They are also asked not to bring in fruit or other food which might be left uncovered at bedside.

Norovirus is unpleasant but in otherwise healthy people it usually clears the system in 12 to 60 hours.