Belfast Telegraph

Sick bug closes two Altnagelvin Hospital wards

By Donna Deeney

An outbreak of a severe vomiting bug has led to the closure of two wards in Altnagelvin Hospital.

The Western Health and Social Care Trust is urging the public to be cautious when visiting patients.

The trust is asking for co-operation as increased infection control measures take effect, and is asking people to refrain from visiting patients if they have been feeling unwell themselves.

The bug — the norovirus — has been confirmed in a number of patients at the hospital in recent days.

It has forced the temporary closure of a medical ward and an orthopaedic ward to new patient admissions.

The trust's infection, prevention and control team is continuing to provide advice and increased infection control measures have been taken.

Alan Corry Finn, Western Trust executive director of nursing, said: “The public has an important role to play by not visiting the hospital if they are feeling unwell, particularly if they have diarrhoea and/or vomiting.

“And if someone has been unwell we would advise them to wait until at least 48 hours after they have had diarrhoea and/or vomiting before making a visit to the hospital.

“Visitors are asked to limit visiting to the designated times of between 3pm and 4pm and from 7pm until 8.30pm. They should only visit the one patient whilst at the hospital and should not move from ward to ward when visiting.

“We are asking relatives and friends of patients in hospital for their understanding and co-operation with the nursing staff with the arrangements which have been put in place in the interest of patients.”

Background

Norovirus is better known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’ and is the most common stomach infection in the UK. It is highly contagious, causing vomiting and diarrhoea, and can affect people of all ages. Between 600,000 and one million people in the UK catch norovirus every year. Symptoms can include a raised temperature, headaches, stomach cramps and aching limbs.

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