Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary have confirmed that all wards have now reopened following an outbreak of suspected norovirus.
All services are functioning normally at the hospital.
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of our staff and visitors for their continued cooperation and support during the outbreak of suspected norovirus over the past week.
“Staff in joint working with the infection control team are extremely alert to the symptoms of this contagious virus. The public can be reassured that we are not letting our guard down.
“A number of gastro-intestinal viruses are circulating within the community at this time and I would urge anyone with symptoms or who have had contact with anyone who may have had the virus, to stay away from hospital settings for a minimum of 48 hours following their last symptom.”
Two wards have been closed at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary due to a norovirus outbreak.
A total of 26 patients and 5 staff members have reported symptoms of the winter vomiting bug.
"We can confirm that norovirus is circulating in the community.
"We would urge anyone with suspected symptoms to stay at home, drink lots of fluid and follow basic hand hygiene advice.”
– Elaine Ross, Infection Control Manager
The advice to public who want to visit the closed wards is:
Routine visiting to the closed wards is suspended meantime and members of the public seeking to visit relatives and friends in hospital are advised not to travel whilst the outbreak measures are ongoing - to avoid the potential for further spread.
Where circumstances are such that relatives are concerned about the need to visit their loved ones in the affected wards they are asked to contact the ward concerned before coming to the hospital.
All members of the public visiting other areas of the hospital are asked to comply with the hand hygiene and infection control measures in place.
Latest figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) show there has been a 72% increase in the number of cases reported at the same point last year.
The HPA have seen 3,877 laboratory confirmed cases of norovirus this season (from week 27 to week 51 2012).
Cases of norovirus have risen earlier than expected this winter season and this is a trend that has been seen across Europe and other parts of the world. It has not yet been determined why this has been the case and activity varies significantly from year to year.
During the two weeks up to 30 December there were 29 hospital outbreaks reported, compared to 70 in the previous fortnight, bringing the total of outbreaks for the season to 590
John Harris, an expert in norovirus from the HPA said:
As we have seen in previous years there has been a dip in the number of confirmed laboratory reports owing to the Christmas and New Year period. However, in line with other norovirus seasons we will expect to see an increase in the number of laboratory reports in the next few weeks.
Norovirus is very contagious, and anyone who has had it knows it is very unpleasant. If you think you may have the illness then it is important to maintain good hand hygiene to help prevent it spreading. We also advise that people stay away from hospitals, schools and care homes as these environments are particularly prone to outbreaks.
Hospital staff are asking people who feel unwell to avoid visiting their relatives and friends, due to the highly contagious winter vomiting bug.
Norovirus is the most common cause of vomiting and diarrhoea and can be particularly dangerous for people with other medical conditions.
"Norovirus infection is particularly serious when it gets into environments where people live or work in close proximity, such as hospitals, residential care homes, hotels and schools.
"In hospitals, it inevitably leads to ward closures as measures are taken to contain the infection and stop it spreading. It can also lead to staff illness and of course it increases the risk to patients who have other serious illnesses.
“There are things that people can do to limit the impact so we are reminding people of the measures that may protect our healthcare services."
– Ann Woodburn, Infection Prevention and Control, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is