Thursday, 13 November 2008

Minehead Hospital admissions suspended after virus outbreak among patients

ADMISSIONS to Minehead Hospital (pictured) have been stopped after an outbreak among patients of the extremely unpleasant gastric illness Norovirus.
The hospital announced today that no patients would be admitted to its inpatient ward until the virus had been eradicated.
Norovirus was discovered in the 22-bed hospital yesterday after five patients fell ill with symptoms of the common, but infectious viral gastroenteritis.
Hospital Matron Sue Meade said the suspension of inpatient admissions was a precautionary measure carried out to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to other patients or staff.
She said additional cleaning was being carried out on the ward, and the affected patients would not be discharged until at least 48 hours after their symptoms had stopped.
Mrs Meade said visitors could help prevent the spread of infection by following these simple infection control measures:
  • All visitors should wash their hands before going onto ward or patient areas and remember to use the alcohol gel hand rub available throughout the hospital
  • Anybody who has had gastric illness themselves within the last 48 hours should not visit
  • Visiting to the ward should be limited to two people at a time
  • Young children should not be taken onto the ward
  • People visiting patients on the affected ward should not then visit a patient in another part of the hospital

The hospital’s outpatient clinics, x ray, physiotherapy department and its minor injury unit were operating as normal and were unaffected by the infection control measures.
Norovirus exists in the community and although not usually serious, it is extremely infectious.
Nursing homes, hospitals, and schools are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks.
The virus can be spread by contact with an infected person or surfaces or objects contaminated with it.
Thoroughly washing hands is an essential means of reducing the spread of the virus.

  • Three wards of Musgrove Park Hospital, in Taunton, were closed to new admissions yesterday because of a similar outbreak of norovirus.

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