Significant numbers of norovirus cases affecting RD&E

‘Significant’ numbers of norovirus cases have been confirmed to continue to hit the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Although exact figures have not been given, the hospital foundation has assured that it has not led to the closure of wards.

Last month it reported seeing a “significant increase” in norovirus cases. Early this month, a doctor from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) warned it was seeing the highest number of cases in the UK at this time of year in more than a decade.

The NHS says symptoms of norovirus – otherwise known as the ‘winter fever bug’ – include nausea or vomiting and diarrhoea. Those infected may also suffer from high fever, headache and aching arms and legs.

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A spokesman for the RD&E said: “We are seeing a significant number of norovirus cases within Royal Devon. If someone has norovirus, everyone around them is treated as a contact person.

“What we can’t do is let new people into the ward, because they can get norovirus. It’s not just wards; it can be bays. We can still fire people, but we can’t let anyone else into that space or move .”

In a statement published on its website last month, the Royal Devon urged the public to help stop the spread of norovirus by not visiting if they have symptoms of the virus and washing their hands regularly if they visit a healthcare facility.

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Tracey Reeves, director of nursing – eastern services at Royal Devon, said on 22 February: “We are seeing a significant increase in norovirus cases in Royal Devon. We are doing everything we can to minimize the impact of this and the risk to patients and staff, but there are important steps people can take to help prevent the spread.

“The most important thing people can do is stay away if they have any signs or symptoms of norovirus – so if you feel unwell, have diarrhoea, vomiting or stomach cramps, please do not go to hospital for at least 48 hours after the last symptom disappeared.

“If you are healthy and visiting one of our healthcare facilities, we ask that you practice good hand hygiene – this means washing your hands regularly with soap and warm water, or using the alcohol hand gel provided. While norovirus is generally harmless to the vast majority of people, it can have a serious impact on patients who are often more vulnerable to contracting it, which is why we urge the public to help us keep our patients safe hold.”

More information about the norovirus can be found at here.

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