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Hospitals ban visitors to prevent spread of norovirus

17th December 2012

Wards are being closed at hospitals around the UK in order to prevent an outbreak of norovirus from spreading.

norovirus

The Health Protection Agency has stated that a 72% increase in cases of the winter vomiting bug was "unexplained".

"There are no indications as to why activity is higher this year," said the HPA. 

According to its most recent weekly report, the HPA said there were 2,630 cases of the virus which had been confirmed in laboratories, which was an increase from the 1,533 cases reported over the same time period in 2011.

"It has been estimated that for every confirmed case there are around 288 unreported cases," the report added. 

Norovirus patients are being treated at Birmingham's City Hospital, George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton and Maidstone Hospital in Kent.

Four wards at City Hospital were shut to visitors, while three wards were closed in Maidstone to prevent the virus spreading. Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust confirmed that 27 patients had the infection.

The Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM) in Margate also shut four wards because of norovirus.

Outbreaks have also been reported by NHS Tayside and five hospitals in Wales; Ysbyty Gwynedd, Dolgellau, Colwyn Bay, Glan Clwyd and Wrexham Maelor.

The port health authority in Southampton said 417 passengers infected with the bug on a P&O cruise ship had disembarked.

Another of the company's ships docked at Southampton on Saturday carrying 10 passengers who had confirmed cases of norovirus. 

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