Sunderland Royal Hospital ward reopens after Norovirus outbreak

Sunderland Royal Hospital has reopened one of the four wards closed after an outbreak of Norovirus
Sunderland Royal Hospital has reopened one of the four wards closed after an outbreak of Norovirus

Sunderland Royal Hospital has reopened a ward after an outbreak of Norovirus.

Four wards were closed last week after an outbreak of the bug, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting.

One has now been reopened but hospital chiefs are still urging anyone who has the virus to wait until they have been symptom-free for 48 hours before visiting relatives and friends at the hospital.

A City Hospitals Trust spokeswoman confirmed one ward had been reopened but three remained closed: "We are reviewing the situation daily," she said.

"We are still appealing for members of the public to stay away if they are unwell and restrictions remain in place."

Visiting is currently restricted to two visitors per patient and no children under the age of 12 ate being allowed onto wards.

The most common stomach bug in the UK , Norovirus is highly contagious.

It is generally mild and most people make a full recovery within a day or two without treatment.

Trust deputy medical director Paul McAndrew said: "Our first priority must be to protect vulnerable patients and, consequently, we are asking people to respect our current visiting guidance.

"Our infection prevention and control team are working extremely hard to prevent transmission of the illness, including constantly monitoring all ward areas to ensure that appropriate measures are in place so that affected areas can be re-opened as quickly as possible.

"The public have a very important role to play in helping us to protect patients and we really appreciate their support. We know how important visiting is to patients, and their relatives, friends and carers, and we are monitoring the situation regularly and hope that normal visiting access can be restored very soon."

Norovirus is estimated to affect between 600,000 and one million people in the UK every year.

Anyone who contracts the bug should stay at home and take plenty of fluids and wash their hands thoroughly and regularly at all times but particularly after using the toilet and before eating.

Do not visit friends or relatives in hospitals or residential care homes until you have fully recovered and have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours to avoid putting vulnerable people at risk. Stay away from work or school until you have fully recovered and have been free of symptoms for 48 hours.

Do not handle or prepare food for other people until you have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.

If symptoms persist, ask for a telephone consultation with your family doctor. Try to avoid visiting your GP surgery or local Emergency Department as you may pass the infection on to others.