Royal Lancaster Infirmary in norovirus visitor ban

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Visitors have been banned from nine wards at The Royal Lancaster Infirmary after the outbreak of the winter vomiting bug norovirus.

Admission to wards was restricted when the outbreak was first reported by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust on 20 February.

There is now a ban in place in all but five wards - those which remain open include maternity and oncology.

Medical director Peter Dyer said it would help stem the outbreak.

"Whilst we understand that this will cause patients and members of the public some frustration, this measure will allow us to help prevent the spread of the infection and ensure safe patient care," he said.

"Our staff have been working extremely hard to deal with this outbreak quickly but resolving this outbreak is taking longer than we expected. This decision will help us return services to normal as soon as possible.

"This decision may seem drastic but these precautions are to protect our patients and staff and we would appreciate the co-operation of the public."

The bug - which causes vomiting, stomach cramps, fever and diarrhoea - is easily spread from person to person.

Symptoms usually begin between 12 to 48 hours after a person becomes infected, with most healthy people making a recovery within one to three days.

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