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19 April 2012, 15:30 | Updated: 19 April 2012, 15:35
FOUR wards at Bedford Hospital currently remain closed or part closed to new patient admissions and transfers following an outbreak of the norovirus. Unaffected areas are on high alert.
The following wards are closed as a precautionary measure to help stop the potential spread of infection among patients, visitors and members of staff.
Reginald Hart Ward (Part closure)
To help reduce the footfall of people through the wards and prevent the spread of infection, visiting restrictions remain in place across all wards. This means only one visitor per patient, per day.
Visitors to maternity, neonatal and paediatric wards and to critical care are advised to phone ahead to discuss visiting arrangements with the nurse or midwife in charge.
Those visiting all ward areas are reminded to wash their hands with soap and water on entering and leaving and not to visit if they themselves have had a stomach upset within the preceding 48 hours.
Director of Nursing and Infection Control, Eiri Jones said: ''Although norovirus is present in the community all year round, it is extremely contagious and once a patient, visitor or staff member enters the hospital with the infection it can spread easily and quickly.
''It is therefore vital that visitors observe the restrictions to help us prevent the spread of viral gastroenteritis and keep the hospital running effectively.
''If you do need to visit the hospital, please ensure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before entering and when leaving the ward. Alcohol gel does not kill norovirus germs ? but soap and water will remove them.
''Please do not come in if you have been ill within the preceding 48 hours. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Norovirus is extremely contagious and is easily passed through person-to-person contact, unwashed hands, touching surfaces and through virus particles carried in the air.
''If you have had norovirus you will still be infectious for 48 hours afterwards, which is why it is vital you do not visit the hospital during this time.
''We are doing our utmost to prevent norovirus spreading across the hospital, please help us by observing visiting restrictions and not visiting if it?s not essential for you to do so. Thank you for your support and understanding.''
Norovirus is a virus that causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. It can be transmitted from person-to-person, by consuming contaminated food or water or through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects;
The symptoms of norovirus infection begin about 12 to 72 hours after infection with the virus;
Symptoms include the sudden onset of nausea following by projectile vomiting and diarrhoea. You may also have a temperature, aching limbs and a headache;
Symptoms usually last for 12 to 60 hours, with most people making a full recovery within one to two days;
If you have norovirus symptoms it is very important to stay well hydrated as sickness and diarrhoea can cause dehydration. Drink plenty of water ? taking small sips at regular intervals ? or take an over-the-counter rehydration remedy;
If your symptoms have not cleared up in three to four days call NHS Direct on 0845 46 467 for advice or contact your GP surgery;
If your symptoms become more severe call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 for advice in the first instance.