Lancashire

Royal Lancaster Infirmary hit by new norovirus outbreak

A Lancashire hospital has closed four of its wards to visitors after a further outbreak of norovirus.

The Royal Lancaster Infirmary closed all its wards to visitors before Christmas after 140 patients and 20 staff fell ill with the sickness bug.

The wards reopened on Christmas Eve but now a new outbreak has led to a visiting ban being imposed on wards 21, 34, 35, and 37 until at least Monday.

This is the fourth time the bug has hit the hospital in the past 12 months.

'Frustrating'

Wards were closed in February, May and November last year.

Jackie Holt, executive chief nurse, said: "This measure had a very positive impact in helping us resolve the situation before Christmas and we are asking for the public's help once again to help us control and resolve this new outbreak as quickly as possible.

"This decision has not been taken lightly as we know it will be frustrating for people who have friends and family in hospital but we have a duty of care to protect the wellbeing and safety of our patients and staff, and this has to be our main priority."

She said staff were working hard to deal with the outbreak as quickly as possible.

The norovirus 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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