Norovirus closes hospital wards

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MEDICS have issued a warning after outbreaks of an untreatable and highly contagious winter vomiting bug across Wigan borough.

Three wards at Wigan Infirmary have been closed to new patients after the norovirus took hold of both staff and patients there, although two have since reopened.

Experts say sufferers should ride it out and not head immediately to the GPs with it because there is nothing they can do and it will only serve to spread infection. Those who have gone down with the condition should also avoid visiting people in hospital for the same reason. Norovirus is the most common stomach bug in the UK, and it can affect people of all ages. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea and there is no treatment for it. The general advice is that it must simply be allowed to run its course, which is usually 12 to 48 hours.

At one point the infirmary’s Aspull, Shevington and Orrell wards were all closed to new patients, however, the latter two have since reopened.

Dr Tim Dalton, local GP and chairman of Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Norovirus, the winter vomiting and diarrhoea bug, is highly contagious and will spread very easily and rapidly in families, schools and workplaces. If you have got the symptoms, please stay in bed, drink small amounts of water regularly, eat if you can but don’t worry if you are unable, and take some paracetamol.

“You should start to feel better after a day or two.

“Please don’t immediately go to your doctor or to A&E as there is very little we can do, and you will pass the virus on to others. Equally, avoid visiting people in hospital when you are poorly with diarrhoea and vomiting. If things persist after a day or two, your pharmacy or GP surgery may be able to assist and offer further advice.”

Wigan Infirmary has confirmed that there are a number of patients on two of its wards with diarrhoea and vomiting virus and some members of staff have also been affected. It has been necessary to close these two wards to new patient admissions in order to contain the outbreak.

Pauline Jones, director of nursing at WWL, stated again: “We are still asking members of the public not to visit the hospital if they have any symptoms of norovirus”.