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Visiting suspended at the Cumberland Infirmary due to norovirus outbreak

All visiting at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle has been temporarily suspended as of today (Wednesday 14 March 2018) due to an ongoing outbreak of norovirus.

Visiting was previously suspended last week and reinstated on Saturday as measures were working well but after re-opening visiting, the virus has subsequently started to spread again.

Norovirus spreads extremely quickly in environments such as hospitals and the impact can be serious on vulnerable patients. The virus can be unwittingly brought in to the hospital by visitors who are displaying symptoms or are not 48 hours clear of symptoms and can spread more ward areas.

Norovirus, the most common cause of vomiting and diarrhoea, is a nasty infection for anyone who gets it but can be particularly dangerous for people with other medical conditions. Known as the winter vomiting bug, it affects between 600,000 and one million people in the United Kingdom every year. It is normally a short-lived, self-limiting infection from which people will usually recover within 12 to 60 hours. The condition is highly contagious unless great care is taken to contain it.

Norovirus is currently circulating in the community and we would also ask if you have been unwell with sickness and diarrhoea to wait until you have been symptom clear for at least 48 hours before returning to your normal activities.

Dr Clive Graham, director of infection prevention and control at the Trust, said: “We would like to apologise to our patients and their visitors for the inconvenience this brings and thank them for their understanding and cooperation.

“We suspended visiting last week to contain an outbreak of the virus and our measures were working well but on opening the hospital to visitors the virus has subsequently been brought back in.
“The importance of not visiting friends or family in hospital if you are feeling unwell cannot be overstated. You must wait until you have been symptom free for at least 48 hours.

“The norovirus infection is particularly serious when it gets into environments where people live or work in close proximity, such as hospitals, residential care homes, hotels and schools.

“If somebody is admitted to hospital please ensure staff are aware if the patient has been in contact with somebody displaying symptoms. In addition, please do not attend A&E if you require treatment for Norovirus.

“There are things that people can do to limit the impact so we are reminding people of the measures that may protect our healthcare services from the worst effects of norovirus infection.”

The Trust’s advice to people if you have norovirus is:

  • Do not visit friends or relatives if you feel unwell
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. You need to drink more than usual to replace the fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhoea – as well as water, adults could also try fruit juice and soup. Avoid giving fizzy drinks or fruit juice to children as it can make their diarrhoea worse. Babies should continue to feed as usual, either with breast milk or other milk feeds.
  • Take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • If you feel like eating, eat plain foods such as soup, rice, pasta and bread.
  • Use special rehydration drinks made from sachets bought from pharmacies if you have signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth or dark urine.

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