Poole hospital imposes visiting times restriction after confirmed case of norovirus (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Poole hospital imposes visiting times restriction after confirmed case of norovirus
POOLE Hospital has enforced restricted visiting to one of its wards this week following a confirmed case of norovirus, the vomiting bug which swept across the country last winter affecting more than one million people.
Denise Richards, matron for infection control at Poole, said it is part of their proactive and precautionary stance towards managing the most infectious of all the viruses.
“Nothing spreads as quickly as noro,” she said.
Trying to prevent an outbreak is a 24/7 job for the hospital’s virology centre, which deals with viruses from across the region.
Early diagnosis is the key to staying one step ahead and the department now has a new weapon in its war on noro. She said: “If you suspect it, then you manage it as though it is, but until you get that confirmation, you don’t know if you are wasting lot of time needlessly.
“The BDMax machine gives you an accurate diagnosis within four hours, whereas before we had to wait up to a week.”
Surveillance is also very important. Denise explained: “We work closely with public health laboratories and local GP practices.
“At this time of year we get a weekly update of how many people have been to GP surgeries with diarrhoea and vomiting.
“Although there is still a peak in winter, there is some evidence that it likes drier, colder and wetter weather or it could be people tend to get together at this time of year, which is a great opportunity to share all the bugs.”
Denise said she managed to avoid it last winter, even though her husband and daughter both succumbed.
“I went to great lengths to avoid it.
“You literally have to think that every surface that has been touched is now contaminated.
“The key is never to put your fingers in your mouth without washing your hands first.”
But Denise added: “We live with these organisms – the world is full of them – and short of never leaving your home and never letting anyone in you can’t always avoid them.
“But homes and hospitals are two very different places.
“The only way to cease an outbreak in hospital is to stop admitting people to the area and allow time for everyone to recover before you can carry out a deep clean and start again.
“Everyone admitted is asked the same two questions – have you had any diarrhoea or vomiting in the last 72 hours and has anyone in your home had it.
“There’s a huge amount of work that goes on all year to manage a virus that is genetically predisposed to get the better of us.”
WAYS TO HELP HOSPITAL
Do not visit if you are unwell, particularly if you have had diarrhoea or vomiting within last 72 hours.
If you are unsure, make sure to ring the hospital beforehand.
Clean your hands when entering and leaving wards. The virus is usually mild, and people generally recover within two to three days.
However, it can have a much more serious affect on vulnerable hospital patients
If you have had norovirus, you will remain contagious for up to 72 hours, and in some cases even longer.
Always wash your hands well with soap and water after using the toilet.
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