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RD&E appeals for public's help to stop spread of winter vomiting bug

 

The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital is urging anyone who has suffered from symptoms of the highly infectious Norovirus bug to stay away from the hospital until they have been free of the symptoms for at least 48 hours.

 

Cases of Norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea and is more common in the winter months, have been rising at the RD&E over the Christmas and New Year period, placing extra pressure on hospital bed capacity at a very busy time for the hospital.
 
At the current time the hospital has closed Lowman and Okement wards and isolated areas in three other wards – Torridge, Abbey and Mere - where Norovirus is either confirmed or suspected.  As a result around 10 beds are not available for use at a time when the hospital is dealing with a high number of acutely ill patients who need to stay in hospital. Further suspected cases of Norovirus among new admissions and in some visitors are also being investigated.

 

Norovirus is brought into hospitals from the community and because staff and patients are in such close proximity, the bug can spread quickly despite infection control measures such as deep cleaning being put in place and cause disruption to hospital services.

But the public can do a lot to help the RD&E’s infection control team stop the bug spreading further and affecting more areas of the hospital.


Judy Potter, the RD&E’s Lead Nurse for Infection Control & Tissue Viability Services and Joint Director of Infection Prevention & Control, said:  “Our message is that if you do think you have had Norovirus, please don’t visit someone in the hospital until you or anyone close to you has been completely free of any vomiting and diarrhoea for at least 48 hours.
“If you visit the hospital before that with symptoms then you could be putting ill people and hospital staff at real risk.  Although the symptoms of Norovirus are very unpleasant, there is no treatment and it’s important to stay at home. Most people recover within a few days by resting and staying as hydrated as possible.


“We have rigorous infection control procedures in place so we hope this outbreak will pass as soon as possible, but while we deal with the bug we are asking for the public’s help.”

Anyone planning to visit patients on Lowman, Torridge, Okement or Mere wards is advised to call the hospital switchboard on 01392 411611 first to check if any restrictions are in place on visiting hours.


 

Call 111 when its less than urgent