Winter vomiting outbreak spreads to Lancaster

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A ward has been closed at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary after an outbreak of the vomiting bug Norovirus.

Hospital leaders are calling for members of the public to avoid visiting if they have suffered from diarrhoea or vomiting within the last 48 hours, and to use services wisely.

It follows yesterday’s announcement that diarrhoea and vomiting had impacted patients and staff across three wards at Furness General Hospital, triggering their closure.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust confirmed that Ward 21 at Royal Lancaster Infirmary has been closed to new patients today (Friday April 3) after seven patients showed symptoms.

Ward 6 and Ward 4 at Furness General Hospital are also closed to new patients, with Ward 6 expected to remain closed over Easter weekend.

Relatives are being advised

*to restrict visiting to one person per bed

*not to visit with young children

*not to visit if they have suffered symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting within the last 48 hours

*only visit their own relatives/friends

*observe handwashing requests before and after visiting

Extra cleaning has been carried out on affected wards and close adherence to infection control procedures has meant Ward 7 and Ward 9 at Furness General Hospital were able to be re-opened on Thursday after further deep cleaning.

Angela Richards, Matron for Infection Prevention and Control, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, advised that diarrhoea and vomiting is often highly contagious and can spread rapidly in closed environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes.

“It can be spread through contact with an infected person, by contact with contaminated surfaces or by consuming contaminated food or water.

“We hope by taking the measure to close the ward to admissions we can resolve this outbreak quickly – however we apologise for any disruptions caused to patients or visitors during this time.

“We would ask anyone who has suffered from diarrhoea or vomiting within the last 48 hours does not attend the hospital – unless they require urgent treatment. If in doubt they should seek advice from the national 111 service first.”