A norovirus outbreak has forced health bosses to close a ward at Hereford County Hospital.
Gilwern Ward has been closed to visitors today, April 12, due to cases of diarrhoea and vomiting caused by the virus.
Health officers have taken the measure to prevent the further spread of the stomach bug which is affecting some of the patients.
Alison Johnson, consultant microbiologist at Hereford County Hospital, said: “It is very important that any visitors with diarrhoea and/or vomiting do not visit other areas of the hospital until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours.
“We ask that you only come to the hospital if you really need to, particularly young children and vulnerable elderly visitors.
“Visitors to all areas of the hospital are requested to practice good hand hygiene and use the alcohol gels available in all wards or departments in order to prevent any further spread of infection.
“This kind of outbreak often comes from within the community and is seen this time of year. Experience has shown that restricting visiting can lessen the chance of spread to both patients and visitors and other areas of the hospital”.
A trust spokesperson said they wished to thank visitors for their understanding during this period and to emphasise that these restrictions are in place to protect patients, as part of a zero tolerance approach to healthcare associated infections.
There are some simple steps that the public can take to help stop a norovirus spreading:
•Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, particularly after using the toilet, and before preparing food. If you’re in an NHS facility pay attention to hand hygiene notices such as using hand gel upon entering and leaving a ward.
•Disinfect any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated with a norovirus. It is best to use a bleach-based household cleaner. Always follow the instructions on the cleaning product.
•Flush away any infected faeces or vomit in the toilet. You should also keep the surrounding toilet area clean and hygienic.
•Wash any clothing, or linens, which could have become contaminated with a norovirus. Washing with hot, soapy water will help to ensure that the virus is killed.
Although people usually recover without treatment in 24 to 72 hours, it is important to stay away from work, school, college or any social gatherings until you have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.