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Winter vomiting bug closes hospital ward

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An outbreak of a winter vomiting bug has closed a Merseyside hospital ward.

Three cases of norovirus were confirmed this week on Ward 7b at Southport and Formby District General Hospital. The ward is closed to new admissions.

Andrew Chalmers, Deputy Director of Infection Prevention and Control, said: “Norovirus is a highly infectious sickness bug which we know is circulating in the local community.”

Friends and family are being asked to postpone visiting patients in the affected ward during the outbreak unless absolutely necessary. The ward is undergoing enhanced cleaning and disinfection.

Andrew added: “Instances of diarrhoea and vomiting are always investigated when they occur in hospital. As a precaution we may close bays within wards while we investigate the cause, which is usually due to a patient’s medical condition rather than infection.”

Symptoms of norovirus include a sudden onset of vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Some people may have a temperature, headache and stomach cramps.

The illness usually resolves in one or two days and there are no long-term effects. If you are affected, stay at home, stay hydrated by drinking adequate fluids, wash your hands after using the toilet and prior to eating, and clean contaminated surfaces.

In particular, anyone who has experienced sickness or diarrhoea in the past 48 hours should stay away from hospitals and other healthcare providers, as either a visitor or a patient, except in a genuine medical emergency.

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