October 6, 2008
Bug-Hit Wards Close
By Alison Dayani
THREE wards at two Birmingham hospitals were today shut down to new patients and visitors after a fresh outbreak of the winter sickness bug norovirus.
Heart of England Trust bosses said the outbreaks were reported over the weekend with two wards at Heartlands and one at Sutton Coldfield's Good Hope remaining closed this morning.
They are still waiting for lab results to confirm how many patients are suffering with norovirus which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea and can be dangerous to the elderly, very young and sick.
Cait Allen, spokeswoman for both hospitals said: "Two wards were affected at the weekend and we are waiting to hear when they will be reopened and how many patients are affected.
"We urge anyone who has suffered with diarrhoea and vomiting in the past 48 hours to stay away from the hospital, in a bid to stop the bug spreading."
Over the past three weeks, the bug has swept through hospitals in the region forcing dozens of wards to be sealed off, patients isolated and visitors banned.
More than 130 patients were hit across 14 wards at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust, which includes Redditch's Alexandra Hospital and Kidderminster Hospital.
All non-urgent planned surgery was cancelled and visitors turned away at the height of the problem when five wards alone were closed off in Redditch.
An elderly care ward, Ward C3, at Russells Hall Hospital, in Dudley, was affected last week.
While Ward D11 at City Hospital, in Winson Green, was closed off when six patients were diagnosed with the virus on September 21.
That ward reopened late last week.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) warned that norovirus cases will only continue to rise as they usually start to appear during the autumn, peaking in January.
Advice is to wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet and coming into contact with contaminated surfaces.
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