A HOSPITAL ward has been closed to new admissions to help cope with the winter vomiting virus.
The move at the Countess of Chester was seen as a preventative measure, to keep the illness – real name ‘norovirus’ – under control in this area.
Nationally, thousands of people have been affected by the 48-hour virus and figures from the Health Protection Agency confirm cases are the highest for five years.
Countess director of operations Mike Phelan said: “It’s no worse than last year, we’re not getting the same problems as are happening nationally.
“We have good, robust systems in place which allow us to spot any outbreaks quickly. But we can’t control what comes into the hospital.”
He confirmed the ward was not closed down, just closed to new admissions, temporarily.
Meanwhile, the Health Protection Agency North West is taking action to limit the spread of the illness.
It is urging people with the virus, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea, to avoid bringing it into GP surgeries, hospitals and residential care homes.
Consultant in communicable disease control with the Health Protection Agency Cheshire and Merseyside, Dr Evdokia Dardamissis, said: “The norovirus causes an unpleasant but generally short-lived illness that usually lasts about three days.
“People can feel quite poorly while they are ill, but there is no specific treatment other than rest and lots of drinks to replace lost fluids. People who are otherwise fit and healthy will make a full recovery without any medical intervention.
“It is unnecessary for people with norovirus infection to visit GP surgeries or hospital accident and emergency departments. If symptoms persist, or seem to get worse, patients should phone NHS Direct or ask for a telephone consultation with their GP.
“We also strongly advise people with the infection not to visit friends or relatives in hospitals or residential care homes and they stay away from work or school until they have been symptom free for at least 48 hours.”
For more details, contact NHS Direct, the 24-hour nurse-led health information service, on 0845 4647.