Wards close as hospital hit by virus outbreak

BOSSES at Chesterfield Royal Hospital have closed three wards due to an outbreak of a "particularly virulent" strain of the winter vomiting bug Norovirus.

Durrant, Eastwood and Markham wards have all been shut to try to contain the infection – which has so far affected 26 patients and four members of staff – and the Health Protection Agency has been informed.

Visitors are being warned not to visit the hospital unless absolutely necessary, measures have been put in place to reduce movement between wards, and "intensive cleaning" is underway.

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Senior matron for infection prevention and control at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, Diane Simpson, said: "We've acted fast to try and reduce the risk of the virus spreading more widely.

"Everyone with symptoms has been cared for following national best practice recommended by the Health Protection Agency.

"We have shut down the affected wards to new patients admissions, to enable us to try and contain the outbreak and manage our patients safely.

"We are asking visitors to come only if necessary to prevent further cross-infection and we are reviewing the situation several times a day."

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Norovirus, a fast-spreading, airborne bug, is the most common cause of diarrhoea and vomiting in England.

Although the Illness is generally mild, lasting two to three days, patients who are in hospital can be badly affected as their immune system is already low.

Outbreaks are common in semi-closed environments such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools and cruise ships.