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Community can help prevent spread of norovirus 

10/11/2017   |  North & West Highland 

Management at the Belford Hospital are asking people who have had symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting to stay away from the hospital to prevent norovirus spreading to patients and staff.

People are being asked to only visit the Fort William if absolutely necessary due to a high prevalence of norovirus in the local community.

Anne Boyd-Mackay, rural general hospital manager, said: “We know norovirus is circulating in the community so we are taking every precaution and asking people who have had symptoms, or have been in close contact with anyone with symptoms, to restrict visiting unless absolutely necessary.

“We are requesting that visiting is strictly limited to emergency only but our staff will be more than happy to talk to visitors by phone.”

Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, can spread in the air where someone has had diarrhoea or has vomited, and is extremely difficult to contain. It may also spread by touching surfaces contaminated by the vomit or diarrhoea.

Dr Adam Brown, consultant microbiologist for NHS Highland, said: “We are asking people not to come to hospital to visit if they have had any vomiting or diarrhoea within the previous 48-hours. By doing this we will be able to limit the spread as much as possible.

“Hospital staff will, of course, be very happy to talk to visitors on the phone.”

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 with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus.

The public can help to minimise the spread by following some simple rules:

• Do not visit a hospital if you or someone you live with has symptoms. If you have a hospital appointment, please 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, don’t sit on their bed and keep the number of visitors to a minimum at any one time. Never touch dressings, drips, or any other equipment around the bed.

For more information about hand hygiene visit the Scottish National Hand Hygiene Campaign website  




Further information

Andrew Devlin 
Communications Manager 
01463 704723