Thanks, from bug-free wards

PUBLISHED: 12:42 18 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 17 June 2010

A Vomiting and diarrhoea bug, which has spread across Devon shutting hospital wards to visitors, has not affected Ottery St Mary Hospital thanks to staff vigilance and the public taking extra care.

A Vomiting and diarrhoea bug, which has spread across Devon shutting hospital wards to visitors, has not affected Ottery St Mary Hospital thanks to staff vigilance and the public taking extra care.Norovirus, a stomach bug which first made people ill before Christmas, is still causing sickness as people return to work and school after the New Year break. Janet McKay, Modern Matron at Ottery St Mary Hospital, said: "We have been very lucky so far. We have not had anyone with the Norovirus."We are taking all the precautions and observing all the rules by stepping up hand washing when people arrive at and leave the hospital."Mrs McKay said the absence of any outbreak of the disease was mainly thanks to the vigilance of the staff and the visiting public heeding the warnings.Health advice for people visiting relatives in hospital says if they have diarrhoea and vomiting they should not visit until 48 hours after the symptoms have disappeared.As people at the hospital are already ill, an outbreak could have more serious consequences.Mrs McKay added: "We have to be careful as it would also have an effect on staff, who need to be available to care for the patients."She said if people were ill and had concerns about relatives or friends at the hospital, they could telephone and staff would be happy to give updates.A Devon Primary Care Trust spokesman said: "The virus is common in the community and can cause unpleasant symptoms such as sickness and diarrhoea but it is not considered a serious risk to health."It usually begins in the community and can be brought into hospitals by unsuspecting patients or visitors. Once inside it can soon spread to staff and other patients."Health bosses advise anyone visiting hospitals to wash their hands using soap and water before and after the visit and use hospital hand gel dispensers. Visitors should also leave children and babies at home as they are especially vulnerable to germs and infections.People should also use chairs provided and avoid sitting on hospital beds.

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