A WARD for the elderly at Borders General Hospital has been closed following an outbreak of the winter vomiting virus, writes Bob Burgess.
Managers at NHS Borders say the closure of Ward 12 is a precautionary measure to prevent Norovirus spreading and that infection control measures are in place.
But they have asked people to consider postponing their visit and not taking children
Consultant microbiologist with NHS Borders Dr Ed James admitted: “There continues to be a higher than usual number of cases of Norovirus which has resulted in us closing one ward at the BGH.
He added: “Norovirus is one of the commonest 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.”
Dr James added: “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 given by staff or on signs at the entrances to wards. In particular, they should try to avoid going to hospital or any other healthcare facility if they or other members of their 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 to help stop the spread of the virus.
“It can also help to protect people visiting, particularly children. That is why we ask visitors to consider postponing their visits to friends or relatives in the hospital and not to bring children to the hospital when there is an outbreak.”
The number of visitors to each patient is being restricted and visitors are being asked not to move around the hospital visitors not to move around the hospital and only go to the area they need to visit.