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Suffolk/Essex: Help stop the spread of norovirus

Hand washing is vital to contain the norovirus

Hand washing is vital to contain the norovirus

© Jorge Salcedo, 2007

VISITORS to Ipswich Hospital this winter will be able to see just how dirty their hands really are with new ultraviolet light technology.

As the hospital tries to avoid any cases of the winter vomiting bug, known as norovirus, special UV light boxes will be installed in hospital entrances to help people see bacteria that is invisible to the naked eye.

So far this winter there have been no reported cases of norovirus at either Ipswich Hospital or West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

An Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman said: “It’s a great thing to do because it shows you the importance of proper, thorough hand washing.”

A spokeswoman for the West Suffolk Hospital added: “Norovirus is very infectious and every year there are cases in the community which transfer to the hospital.

“We would also ask visitors to be vigilant and clean their hands using soap and water when they arrive and before they leave as the alcohol gel is not effective against norovirus.”

At Colchester General Hospital there have been 10 cases so far, leading to one short ward closure, but there are no reported cases at the site at present.

A spokesman for Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust said: “So far this winter, we have had 10 cases which were on three wards – all surgical wards.

“These were successfully contained and managed by closing bays to new admissions and, in one case, closing a ward to new admissions for a period of five days.

“Constant vigilance is our watchword.”

Members of the public can help hospital staff by making sure that if they have diarrhoea and/or vomiting, they stay away from visiting until they have been symptom-free for at least 48 hours.

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