Published: February 22, 2010
Norovirus outbreak closes ward at Burnham-On-Sea hospital

Burnham's War Memorial HospitalHealth bosses have said today (Monday, February 22nd) that the Norovirus bug is to blame for an outbreak of sickness which has shut a ward at Burnham-On-Sea War Memorial Hospital.

Burnham-On-Sea.com learns one ward has been closed after five patients went down with the Norovirus bug, which causes sicknesss and diarrhoea.

Somerset Community Health spokesman Paul Courtney told Burnham-On-Sea.com on Monday: "One ward has been affected and closed to admissions as a precautionary measure. We are holding patients there to try and reduce the risk of them taking the bug to nursing homes and other ."

"We're monitoring the situation on a day-by-day basis and are not taking in new patients until the illness has gone."

"It should be noted that Norovirus is a relatively common gastric illness - not a hospital bug - that is found in schools, hotels and other community places," added Mr Courtney.

He also stressed that the hospital's outpatient services and minor injuries unit are unaffected.

"There are a handful of patients recovering from symptoms of the virus, however, as a precautionary measure, admissions and discharges from the ward remain suspended until the hospital’s Matron and Infection Control staff are confident that there is no risk of the illness being spread to others. The ward situation is being reviewed on a daily basis."

"A more intensive cleaning regime is already operating on the ward at Burnham Hospital. However, a ‘deep clean’ of the hospital ward will also be undertaken before any new inpatients are re-admitted."

Visitors to the hospital are being reminded that they can play a vital role in reducing the spread of this highly infectious gastric illness by ensuring they maintain scrupulous personal hygiene - always wash their hands after going to the toilet or before handling food for others.

He added that it is important to stress that Noro Virus does not originate from within the hospital. "The virus is a naturally occurring virus in the environment and community and can be easily spread from person to person. This most commonly occurs when people with the virus fail to wash their hands after going to the toilet or when handling food for others or vomit whilst in close proximity to others."

Anyone visiting friends or relatives on the wards at Burnham Hospital is reminded to follow several infection control measures:

* If visiting a friends or relative on an affected ward please limit the numbers of people visiting to just one or two adults at a time
* When entering or leaving the hospital and its wards always wash your hands and use the anti-bacterial hand gels present at the ward entrances.
* If you are visiting a friend or relative on a ward do not then go onto to visit a patient in another area of the hospital
* Do not bring young children onto the affected wards
* If visitors are themselves suffering with gastric illness or diarrhoea they are asked not to visit the hospital at this time.


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