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Norovirus outbreaks in Reading, Swindon and Basingstoke hospitals

Jane Meredith

Jane Meredith

jane.meredith@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886637

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NOROVIRUS outbreaks are currently affecting three local hospitals, in Reading, Swindon and Basingtoke, resulting in some visiting restrictions. Spokesman for the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, Joe Wise, said today (Thursday Jan 9) six wards, out of a total 34 wards, accommodating almost 700 patients, were operating under part restrictions, due to a Norovirus outbreak: “This means that one bay of beds is affected and if patients are due to be discharged to other hospitals or nursing homes they will remain with us until 72 hours after the symptoms have gone. Only a handful of patients are showing symptoms,” said Mr Wise. The hospital has refused to release the names and types of the six wards currently affected. To reduce the risk of members of the public taking the virus into the hospital, the hospital has requested only essential visits are made. “Clearly some visits need to be made but again we would ask the public to consider perhaps just one member of the family coming in to visit their relative. In the children's wards we are allowing parents to visit but asking that they do not bring siblings with them,” said Mr Wise. Spokeswoman for the The Great Western Hospital in Swindon, Rachael Lee, confirmed five bays were currently closed due to Norovirus on the Jupiter ward - for adult/elderly male and female patients, with a variety of conditions. There are currently no visiting hour restrictions. The Great Western Hospital suffered a suspected Norovirus outbreak in November last year, when the Saturn ward – an adult medical word with 35 beds – was closed to new admissions on November 27. The ward was re-opened on November 29, after tests proved negative, according to the hospital Spokeswoman for the Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, Jane Gordon, said one bay was affected by Norovirus, on ward E2, a general medical ward. Visiting hours on this particular ward have been reduced to 6.30pm to 7.30pm daily. The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford was unaffected by Norovirus, according to a spokesman for the hospital yesterday (Wed). The Norovirus is on the increase across the country, with a reported 63 per cent increase in cases and a new dominant strain - Sydney 2012 - first detected in October and believed to be behind most of this huge increase and an estimated 1.19m cases in England and Wales. The new strain - which does not produce any more serious illness than other Norovirus - was first seen in Australia and named after the place it was first identified, but has also been found in France, New Zealand and Japan. The first signs of Norovirus are a sudden sick feeling, followed by forceful vomiting and watery diarrhoea. Most recover within a couple of days, with the elderly, infants, those who are already ill, or recovering from operations most at risk. Hospital visitors are asked to wash their hands thoroughly and also make use of alcohol hand gel outside wards. Anyone who has experienced vomiting or diarrhoea within the last 48 hours or who has been in contact with anyone suffering from the symptoms should not visit hospital.

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