Visitors urged to stay away from South Tyneside District Hospital following outbreak of norovirus

Three wards remain shut at South Tyneside District Hospital following an outbreak of norovirus .
Three wards remain shut at South Tyneside District Hospital following an outbreak of norovirus .

South Tyneside District Hospital is still appealing for visitors to stay away to prevent the spread of sickness bug norovirus.

Three wards at South Tyneside District Hospital remain closed as bosses battle to control the outbreak.

People are being urged to stay away if they have been feeling unwell with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting.

They should wait until they have been symptom-free for 48 hours before visiting relatives and friends at the hospital.

Visiting is also being restricted to two visitors per patient and no children under the age of 14.

Norovirus, which is very infectious, is the most common stomach bug in the UK.

It is, generally, mild and most people make a full recovery within one to two days. The main symptom is vomiting, sometimes accompanied by diarrhoea.

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s Medical Director Dr Shaz Wahid said: “We continue to have wards closed while we deal with an outbreak of norovirus.

"Whilst it is a short-lived illness from which most people recover without treatment, we must do all we can to protect vulnerable patients.

"We know how important visiting is to patients, and their relatives, friends and carers, and we really appreciate the public’s support in helping us to protect patients.

"Our infection prevention and control team are working extremely hard to prevent transmission of the illness, including constantly monitoring all ward areas to ensure that appropriate measures are in place so that affected areas can be re-opened as quickly as possible.”

The outbreak comes at a time when the NHS in South Tyneside, as in the whole of the North East, is under severe pressure and people across the region are being urged to stay away from A&E unless they are seriously unwell or in need of critical or life-saving care.

This follows soaring A&E attendances in the aftermath of the recent extreme weather.

NHS issues advice for people who believe they have norovirus

* Stay at home and take plenty of fluids.

* If symptoms persist, ask for a telephone consultation with your family doctor. Try to avoid visiting your GP surgery or local A&E as you may pass the infection on to others.

* Wash hands thoroughly and regularly at all times but particularly after using the toilet and before eating.

* Do not visit friends or relatives in hospitals or residential care homes until you have fully recovered and have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours to avoid putting vulnerable people at risk.

* Stay away from work or school until you have fully recovered and have been free of symptoms for 48 hours.

* Do not handle or prepare food for other people until you have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.