AN outbreak of Norovirus has forced Musgrove Park Hospital (pictured), in Taunton, to stop admitting new patients on three of its wards.
The restrictions were put in place to manage the outbreak of viral gastroenteritis on Eliot and Fielding wards, in the Duchess Building, and Ward Five in the old part of the hospital.
Hospital spokesman Mark Wall said: “Musgrove Park has detailed and well-established procedures to manage outbreaks such as these to minimise the risk of cross infection.
“Management of the outbreak is led by our specialist infection control team and other senior staff with ongoing review of the situation.”
Musgrove has more than 700 beds on 30 wards plus 15 operating theatres, and a fully-equipped diagnostic imaging department, and employs more than 4,000 staff.
To help reduce the risk of further infection being taken into the hospital, visitors were being asked not to visit if, in the previous 48 hours, they had symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting or had been in contact with anybody who had.
Visitors were also being asked to ensure their hands were thoroughly cleaned before leaving a ward.
Mr Wall said: “If you are in any doubt about whether to visit or not, please talk to the ward sister.
“If you are visiting a ward which has an outbreak of Norovirus, please do not visit any other wards.”
Norovirus exists in the community and although not usually serious, it is highly infectious.
It is estimated that between 600,000 and one million people in the UK are affected each year.
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.
Mr Wall said information about Musgrove’s Norovirus outbreak would be updated daily on the hospital trust website at http://www.tsft.nhs.uk/.