08:36 Wednesday 08 January 2014

80 beds closed at height of bug outbreak

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

AN outbreak of the norovirus which at its height closed 80 beds at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital is now under control, bosses have said.

The highly-contagious winter vomiting bug took hold of the hospital during the last month, the Mail has learned, with dozens of beds closed.

The action helped to reduce the spread of the bug, which causes violent vomiting and diarrhoea, and by Christmas the number off closed beds reduced to 40, with the bug now said to have been completely eradicated from the hospital.

Helen Ashley, chief executive of the trust which runs Queen’s, described December as a ‘challenging month’ but said a rise in cases of the norovirus is expected at this time of year.

She reassured patients and the public that the hospital was well prepared to battle the bug.

She said: “Cases of diarrhoea and vomiting traditionally go up at this time of year and December was a challenging month for the Trust with norovirus. There were 10 instances of outbreaks alone, all of which are now resolved and there are no current outbreaks.

“I would like to reassure the public that we have rigorous infection control procedures in place and always encourage all visitors to routinely follow our hand hygiene policy by using the hand sanitisers when entering and leaving a ward.

“Should there be an outbreak visitors are asked to wash their hands with soap and hot water when leaving the ward.

Keen not to see a return of the norovirus, experts have advised people showing symptoms not to come into the hospital.

Mrs Ashley said: “We advise patients and visitors who have been feeling unwell or been sick or had diarrhoea within the last 48 hours to avoid coming into hospital.

“Symptoms such as sickness and diarrhoea can be best treated by staying at home, drinking plenty of fluids and getting some rest”.

Despite the presence of the norovirus, the hospital managed to meet its four-hour target for seeing patients in its A&E department during the period, as revealed by the Mail yesterday.

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