First Cases of Norovirus this Winter at Scarborough Hospital

THE first cases this year of the winter vomiting disease Norovirus have been seen at Scarborough Hospital.

Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust is now working to raise awareness of the virus and limit the spread of infection.

Hospital wards have not been closed in Scarborough but the virus has already caused problems at York Hospital where five wards were affected and two were completely shut down.

Norovirus is the most common cause of infectious gastroenteritis in the UK affecting between 600,000 and one million people each year.

Teresa Fenech, director of nursing at the trust, said: "We have already seen our first cases of vomiting and diarrhoea resulting from the norovirus infection, which is very common at this time of the year and we are keen to stress that people with the infection should do all they can to avoid bringing it into hospitals, doctors surgeries, schools and care homes.

"Norovirus is highly infectious and it can spread rapidly in closed environments such as these. It causes nausea, then vomiting and/or diarrhoea and usually lasts about three days.

"Good hygiene is the key to avoiding the infection and preventing its spread. Make sure that you thoroughly wash your hands after using the toilet, before and after preparing food and before eating. People who have had the infection are also advised to wait until they are 48 hours free of symptoms before returning to school, work or visiting the doctors or hospital."

There is no specific treatment other than rest and drinking lots of fluid, so it is therefore unnecessary for people with the infection to visit their doctor or hospital.

However if the symptoms persist, patients should phone their GP or NHS Direct on 0845-4647.