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Norovirus returns to Raigmore as bosses close ward

Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.
Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

The dreaded norovirus bug has returned yet again to the Highlands’ main hospital.

Ward 6C at Raigmore closed to new admissions yesterday (WED) and the public was urged to keep visiting “to an absolute minimum” as staff dealt with several cases of diarrhoea and vomiting.

The ward, which was closed to new admissions, had two affected patients as of last night.

The overnight closure was precautionary and the situation is being reviewed on an ongoing basis by an infection prevention team.

The virus spreads in the air where someone has had diarrhoea or vomited and is extremely infectious.

Doctors say it is vital that everyone plays their part in reducing outbreak risks.

Dr Jonty Mills, consultant microbiologist for NHS Highland, said: “We would request that visitors help us at this time by not visiting the ward unless absolutely necessary and having first arranged to do so by phoning the ward charge nurse.

“By restricting visiting to the affected area it helps hospital staff protect the health, privacy and dignity of our patients.

“We would also ask that people do not come to the hospital to visit if they have or live with someone who has had any vomiting or diarrhoea in the previous 48 hours. By doing this we will be able to limit the spread as much as possible.”

He added: “Hospital staff will, of course, be happy to talk to visitors on the phone so they can get updates on how their relatives are.”

There is no specific treatment for a norovirus infection and it is not usually necessary to visit a doctor.

The best course of action is to stay at home, take paracetamol to relieve symptoms of any fever and to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.

People should also adhere to strict hand washing techniques to reduce the spread of the virus.

Put simply, do not visit a hospital if you or someone you live with has symptoms. If you have a hospital appointment get in touch and, where appropriate, your appointment can be rescheduled.

Wait until you have been clear of symptoms for 48 hours, as you may still be contagious, even if you feel well.

Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and before eating.

If you visit someone in hospital, do not sit on their bed and keep the number of visitors to a minimum at any one time.

There is more information at the Scottish National Hand Hygiene Campaign website at www.washyourhandsofthem.com

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