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Hospital visitors urged to play their part to stop the spread of norovirus

29 May 2024

York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is urging people not to visit their hospitals if they, or a member of their household, have nausea, diarrhoea or vomiting or had any of these symptoms within the last 48 hours.

Norovirus is the most common stomach bug in the UK.  Like the flu, it spreads rapidly in closed environments such as hospitals, schools, and care.  It can be spread through contact with an infected person, by contact with contaminated surfaces or by consuming food handled by someone who has norovirus.

Typical symptoms of a norovirus infection include the sudden onset of nausea (feeling sick), vomiting and in some cases diarrhoea.  Some people also experience headaches, mild temperature, and stomach cramps.

Dawn Parkes, Interim Chief Nurse, York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, explained:

“Generally, norovirus is brought into the hospital by a patient, staff, or visitor and once in a clinical area spread is highly likely.  We have the virus on several wards, particularly on the Scarborough site with reports of visitors having symptoms.

“We are urging people who have been unwell with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting not to visit the hospital until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours.  We are also asking people to stay at home if they have been in contact with a household member who has been symptomatic as the virus can also be passed on through this contact.

“This is important because the virus is highly infectious and can be brought into the hospital by family friends or relatives.  The virus is easily spread by contact with an infected person, especially through their hands.  If you have any concerns about exposure to the virus, the safest thing you can do is to stay at home.”

Most people recover within two days from norovirus, however, if symptoms persist (more than 48 hours), the advice is not to come to A&E but to phone the GP or NHS 111.

Advice is:

  • Please do not visit if you or a member of your household has nausea, diarrhoea or vomiting or had these symptoms within the last 48 hours
  • If you have these symptoms during or after your visit, please inform ward staff as soon as possible
  • Always clean your hands before and after visiting your friend or relative using the hand wash facilities on the ward
  • If the ward is closed due to diarrhoea and/or vomiting only essential visits will be permitted.
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