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Hospitals on alert as vomiting bug strikes

By Brendan McDaid

Health chiefs in the North West have issued a warning that increasing levels of people are falling prey to a highly contagious vomiting bug.

Hundreds of people have been going to GP surgeries and hospitals suffering vomiting and diarrhoea over recent days.

Hospitals in the region, including Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry, have urged visitors not to bring small children with them and to restrict visits to one patient per visit. They have also been advised people to stay away if they are feeling unwell.

The Western Health and Social Care Trust and the Health Promotion Agency yesterday issued guidance in a bid to prevent the outbreak of the illness escalating.

Dr Anne Kilgallen, medical director with the Western Trust, said that the increase in vomiting and diarrhoea in the community could have implications for hospital services.

She said: “The Trust has experienced an increase in the number of patients coming into hospital with vomiting and diarrhoea over recent weeks.

“Restrictions on visiting have been put in place, alongside other infection prevention and control measures and enhanced cleaning.”

She added: “Visitors to the hospital should wash their hands thoroughly before and after visiting and avoid visiting the hospital if they are feeling unwell, particularly if they have diarrhoea or vomiting and they are asked not to bring small children to visit.

“Visitors are requested to visit only one patient whilst at the hospital and not to move among patients and from ward to ward when visiting.”

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