Norovirus strikes Lister again

Suspected norovirus at Lister Hospital has forced the closure of a ward, just weeks after the all-clear was given following an earlier outbreak.

The infection which causes diarrhoea and vomiting in sufferers led to the closure of a ward to new patients yesterday (Thursday), the East and North Herts NHS Trust said. The ward will be closed until the patients are free from symptoms.

The trust shut three wards in December due to the infection. It took until mid January to eradicate it.

Relatives and friends of patients at the Lister are being asked to stay away if they feel unwell.

Trust deputy director of nursing, Philippa Davies, said: “Although norovirus infections are self-limiting and rarely dangerous, it can spread very quickly if you don’t take action the moment an outbreak is suspected.

“This is why the trust is asking people coming in to visit friends and loved ones not to do so if they have experienced symptoms themselves. The advice is simple – just stay at home and don’t visit until the last episode of vomiting and/or diarrhoea was three days ago.”

People feeling ill should phone their GP or NHS Direct, and not come to A&E unless advised to by a medical professional, she added.

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“Our A&E staff are exceptionally busy at the moment due to normal winter pressures that always happen at this time of the year. They’re often caring for very sick people and the last thing anyone needs is norovirus to be brought in to the department risking patients and staff getting infected, when this is a condition that for the vast majority of people just needs bed rest and drinking plenty of fluids.”