08/11/2012

Antrim Area Ward Closes Over Vomiting Bug

A ward at Antrim Area Hospital has been closed after 18 suspected cases of the winter vomiting bug were discovered.

The Northern Trust has said 13 patients and five staff are suspected to have contracted gastroenteritis.

A bay has been closed in one ward where three patients have the infection. The other ten were discovered in another ward.

None of the infected are thought to be seriously ill.

The trust said the situation "has been brought under control". It is awaiting lab tests to determine whether it is the suspected norovirus. The bug is currently circulating in Northern Ireland.

Symptoms of the infection include severe vomiting and diarrhoea. It can be transmitted through food, water and air.

The Northern Health Trust has placed restrictions on visitors to those areas infected. It said it needed the support of patients, carers and the public to help reduce the risk of infection.

"We would ask that individuals visiting patients in our facilities should avoid doing so if they have vomiting and diarrhoea, cold or flu symptoms," the statement said.

"Members of the public who are attending our Accident and Emergency departments should advise the staff on arrival if they have gastrointestinal symptoms.

"This is extremely important to ensure that any condition considered to be of an infectious nature is identified and managed promptly."

The Trust said it monitors the cleanliness of wards, equipment and ensures "hand hygiene compliance".

(IT/GK)

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