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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Winter sickness bug continues to affect north Cumbria

The winter vomiting bug continues to hit people across north Cumbria.

Norovirus causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea and is unpleasant for anyone but potentially life-threatening to the seriously ill.

It traditionally breaks out in the heart of winter, hence the nickname, but last year saw a high number of reported cases earlier in the year.

The public has been warned not to visit hospitals or GPs surgeries if they have any symptoms and to stay away for 48 hours afterwards.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has been battling to contain any outbreaks and protect patients from the illness.

It is currently reporting one ward – Elm A – at the Cumberland Infirmary, in Carlisle – is closed to new admissions while it contains a confirmed outbreak of norovirus.

It is not the first time Elm A has been affected: it was closed at the end of November while it dealt with the bug.

There are no wards closed at the West Cumberland Infirmary, in Whitehaven.

Norovirus affects between 600,000 and one million people in the United Kingdom every year.

It is normally short-lived, with people recovering within 12 to 60 hours.

Ann Woodburn, senior nurse for infection prevention and control, reminded the public: “In hospitals, it inevitably leads to ward closures as measures are taken to contain the infection and stop it spreading. It can also lead to staff illness and of course it increases the risk to patients who have other serious illnesses.

“However, 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.”

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