A hospital ward at St Mary’s in Newport on the Isle of Wight has been closed to new admissions because of norovirus.

The Stroke/Nurse Led Unit has been shut as a precaution as a number of patients have been affected by the sickness bug.

Visitors, especially schoolchildren, have also been asked to stay away to prevent the spread of infection.

The highly contagious virus causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Relatives or visitors should make contact with the ward if they have specific queries or concerns on telephone number 01983 534311

Carol Alstrom, Chief Nurse and Director of Infection Prevention & Control, said: “During previous outbreaks thanks to the co-operation of the public and our staff we have managed to limit the spread of this infection. It is vitally important for visitors to keep away from the hospital, nursing or residential care homes if they have been unwell with vomiting and/or diarrhoea recently, especially if they have had these symptoms in the past 48 hours. This is not only to protect patients who are vulnerable, but also our staff who are needed to deliver our services. Viral gastroenteritis is highly infectious. I would discourage parents from bringing young children in to the hospital to visit friends and family at this time. If you do have to visit the hospital for any reason please make use of the hand gel and hand washing facilities provided.”

It is vital that anyone who is feeling unwell with vomiting and/or diarrhoea should not visit hospitals, nursing or residential homes and spread the infection to staff, patients and residents. Keeping hydrated and drinking plenty of fluids is very important, particularly for the elderly and the very young who are most at risk. If the symptoms persist, telephone NHS 111. Further details of symptoms are available on the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk.

Good hygiene is important during outbreaks of norovirus as it is highly contagious. To prevent becoming infected it is very important to wash your hands with soap and water after you have been around someone who is ill. Thorough cleaning of hard surfaces with a bleach solution, paying particular attention to the toilet and toilet area will help to reduce the spread of the virus.

Report by Michael Coombes

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