Norovirus outbreak: South Tyneside hospital ‘all clear’ after winter vomiting bug scare

South Tyneside District Hospital.
South Tyneside District Hospital.

Health chiefs say South Tyneside’s main hospital is now free of a winter vomiting bug that broke out just before Christmas.

At its peak, 18 patients and 15 members of staff contracted norovirus at South Tyneside District Hospital, and visitors were asked to stay away from the hospital if they had suffered from the bug.

We currently have no patients affected by norovirus. Two members of staff are off sick with the virus but they did not acquire it at work.

South Tyneside District Hospital spokesman

Now, no patients at the hospital, in Harton Lane, South Shields, are affected.

Two staff members have the bug but bosses say they did not contract it at the hospital.

A spokesman for the hospital said: “We currently have no patients affected by norovirus.

“Two members of staff are off sick with the virus but they did not acquire it at work.”

When it broke out, the illness, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea led to a ward being temporarily sealed off to stop it spreading.

Norovirus is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK.

It’s also called the “winter vomiting bug” because it’s more common in winter, although it can be caught at any time of the year.

It can be unpleasant but it usually clears up by itself in a few days.

Symptoms include suddenly feeling sick, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Some people also have a slight fever, headaches, painful stomach cramps and aching limbs.

The symptoms appear one to two days after they become infected and typically last for up to two or three days.

Norovirus spreads very easily in public places such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools.

It can be caught more than once because the virus is always changing, so the body is unable to build up long-term resistance to it.

It is not always possible to avoid getting sick but washing hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet and before preparing food, will help prevent it.

Any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated should be wiped with bleach-based household cleaner.

Clothing or bedding should be cleaned in a hot wash to ensure the virus is killed.