Norovirus closes Swansea hospital ward

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Norovirus closes Swansea hospital ward

22nd December 2010

A hospital ward has been closed to visitors and new patients after a Norovirus outbreak was discovered.

Ward C, a surgical ward at Morriston Hospital in Swansea has been closed to prevent the spread of the bug.

Daniel Lee, Head of Clinical Negligence at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said: "Six patients with Norovirus symptoms have now been isolated. The ward is now closed to outside admissions and will remain closed until the outbreak has been dealt with."

Norovirus commonly known as the 'winter vomiting bug' is the collective name given to a highly contagious group of viruses responsible for infecting up to 1 million people in the UK each year. Noroviruses are easily spread from person to person, through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects or by consuming contaminated food or water.

Infections can occur in people of all ages and outbreaks of the illness are common particularly within contained environments such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools. Symptoms last for between 12-60 hours and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea as well as a fever, headache, stomach cramps and aching limbs.

"The virulent nature in which this virus thrives in environments such as hospital wards means it can affect patients who are already poorly as well as hospital staff," said Daniel, a partner with the firm. "If a significant number of wards have to be closed because of the virus, it may be necessary to close the entire hospital to outside visitors."

Hospital managers hope that by stopping visits to closed wards the spread of the virus can be controlled. Friends and family of patients on these wards have been requested to stay away until the all clear has been given.

Norovirus is around throughout the year, but cases commonly increase during the winter. This winter, Norovirus cases are peaking much sooner than usual.

"Hospitals are currently under a huge amount of pressure due to the unusually cold weather," said Daniel. "Closing wards because of a Norovirus outbreak is a necessary action but it does mean beds are taken out of commission which results in delays in admitting new patients. In this case, hospital managers have acted promptly and hopefully it is only a matter of time before this outbreak can be eradicated."

How can Fentons help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims relating to clinical and medical negligence.

If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Source - BBC