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Havering hospital trust warns public about outbreak of winter vomiting virus

PUBLISHED: 08:48 19 September 2014 | UPDATED: 08:48 19 September 2014

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Cases of a winter vomiting virus have been recorded at Queen's Hospital and Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust is asking the public to take action to prevent its spread.

Key points to bear in mind

• If you get symptoms of vomiting or diarrhoea, do not come into hospital to see your friends or relatives. You may be contagious. The virus continues to shed from you even after you feel better so leave at least two days after you have stopped feeling unwell before you consider coming into hospital as a visitor.

• Bringing in food for relatives in hospital could lead to an outbreak, so please be very hygienic if you are preparing this food at home.

• Hands must be washed when you get to our hospitals, and when you leave, at sinks on the wards. Alcohol gel is not effective against norovirus, but it can be washed off the hands with soap and water.

• Use the alcohol gel provided frequently, as this is effective against many other organisms. Dispensers are located throughout the hospitals.

(Source: BHRUT)

Norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea, is highly contagious and brought into hospitals each year by members of the public.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trusts (BHRUT), said it had seen the “first signs” of the stomach virus, which is the most common in the UK.

Dr Hosein, director of infection prevention and control, said: “Norovirus is one of the most infectious agents that we face in the NHS, and it causes significant disruption to the services hospitals can provide.

“The virus always begins with spread in the wider community and then it gets into hospitals.

“I am hoping that the public will get behind us and stop more cases coming on to the wards.”

BHRUT said a similar campaign last year had been successful and prevented the closing of wards and beds.

The trust has asked people with symptoms including vomiting and diarrhoea not to visit friends and family at the hospital until two days after they have stopped feeling unwell.

It has also warned that care should be taken if bringing home-prepared food into the building and asked visitors to ensure hands are washed using soap and water.

Dr Hosein said: “Helping us to defeat the winter vomiting virus and preventing outbreaks will mean that we will have more hospital beds available to care for patients.”

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