Lancashire

Royal Lancaster Infirmary visiting ban amid norovirus outbreak

The Royal Lancaster Infirmary has closed all wards to visitors for the next 48 hours in a bid to control an outbreak of norovirus.

Chief operating officer Juliet Walters said 140 patients and 20 staff had been affected.

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

Visiting bans were also imposed in May and November when several wards closed.

The latest "significant" outbreak is now affecting seven wards.

Ms Walters said: "By reducing the number of people coming into our hospital, we can reduce the risk of norovirus spreading to further wards.

"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 well-being and safety of our patients and staff, and this has to be our main priority."

The trust said in an emergency people should attend the emergency department as normal.

Members of the public who want to visit the seriously ill should call ahead to the ward to arrange visits.

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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