Norovirus outbreak at Lister - ward closed, loved ones told to stay away

A suspected norovirus outbreak has forced the closure of a ward at Lister Hospital.

The ward is closed to new admissions, with two other clinical units potentially infected with the diarrhoea and vomit inducing infection.

The East and North Herts NHS Trust has asked anyone who has suffered these symptoms not to visit loved ones at the hospital for three days after they have recovered as staff try to contain the easily spread virus.

The trust’s infection control lead, director of nursing Angela Thompson, said: “We’re also reminding everyone – patients, their visitors and our staff – to ensure they maintain excellent hygiene practices at all times. This includes being extra vigilant in washing hands before and after every visit, using the hand washing facilities provided. Children under the age of twelve should not come along on visits if at all possible as they are more prone to acquiring norovirus infections.”

Outbreaks of the virus can happen at any time but are more common in winter. In the last two weeks there have been 35 outbreaks in hospitals across the country forcing the closure of 27 wards - a 19 per cent increase on the same period last year according to the Health Protection Agency

The agency is urging people who think they have the bug not to visit GPs or hospitals because they could infect patients or health staff. Instead they should phone their GP or NHS Direct.