Ward at BGH closed due to Norovirus

NHS Borders is appealing to the public to be vigilant after an outbreak of Norovirus, more commonly known as the winter vomiting bug, forced the closure of a ward at Borders General Hospital.

This closure is a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the virus and all necessary infection control measures have also been put in place to support this.

Dr Ed James, Consultant Microbiologist with the NHS Borders Infection Control Team said: “There continues to be a higher than usual number of cases of Norovirus which has resulted in us closing one ward at the BGH.

“Norovirus is one of the most common causes of diarrhoea and vomiting illness. It can occur at any time of year, but is more common in the winter months.

“It doesn’t just occur in hospitals, it spreads through communities just like the flu does. The virus is very infectious and spreads quickly between people. This is why outbreaks happen in hospitals where a number of people are sharing facilities.”

“Outbreaks of Norovirus can start abruptly and spread quickly, but action by patients, visitors and staff can help minimise the impact. Visitors are asked to comply with any instructions you are given by staff or you see on signs at the entrances to wards. In particular, you should try to avoid going to hospital or any other healthcare facility if you or other members of your family have had symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting within the past 48 hours.

“When we close a ward, it is a precautionary measure to protect new patients being admitted to the hospital and help stop the spread of the virus. It can also help to protect people visiting the hospital, particularly children. That is why we ask visitors to consider postponing your visits to friends or relatives in the hospital and not to bring children to the hospital when there is an outbreak.

“We will also limit the number of visitors to each patient and ask visitors not to move around the hospital and only go to the area you need to visit. Hand washing with soap and water is essential for both visitors and staff after contact with people with diarrhoea symptoms in hospital and at home.”