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Health Department: NHS coping with norovirus increase well

The NHS is well prepared for the increase in winter related health problems which are typical at this time of year.

Our weekly published figures show the number of beds closed across the NHS due to norovirus symptoms is around two per cent.

This compares to 2.9 per cent of beds that were closed during the peak of norovirus cases last winter.

– spokesman, department of health

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What to do if you get the winter vomiting bug

  • Do not visit your GP surgery or A&E - you will recover naturally without treatment.
  • Drink plenty to replace lost fluids.
  • Wash hands thoroughly and regularly - particularly after using the toilet and before eating.

Norovirus cases up 83% on last year

The number of confirmed cases of norovirus in England and Wales is 83% higher than this time last year, according to the latest figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

There have been 3,046 confirmed cases so far this season, compared with 1,669 last season. The norovirus season runs from around November to April.

It has been estimated that for every confirmed case there are around 288 unreported cases, since the vast majority of affected people do not access health care services.

By that reckoning, almost 880,000 people could have been affected.

P&O apologises after 'plague ship' cruise

The Managing Director of P&O Cruises has apologised after at least 300 out of 1,843 passengers on board the Oriana, fell ill during a ten day cruise through the Baltic Sea.

Carol Marlow said "We had a number of people who were taken ill. I have written to all the passengers saying how sorry I am. These are our passengers. We want them to have a good time so they sail with us again".

The company confirmed that any passengers with particular concerns might be entitled to compensation, but that this would be decided on an individual basis.

Cleaners prepare to wash the outside of the Oriana while the ship is docked in Southampton
Cleaners prepare to wash the outside of the Oriana while the ship is docked in Southampton Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire
A worker a jet wash to clean the outside of the cruise liner Oriana
A worker uses a jet wash to clean the outside of the cruise liner Oriana Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire
Cleaners arrive at the Ocean Terminal in Southampton
Cleaners arrive at the Ocean Terminal to help with the deep clean of the ship after several passengers fell ill Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

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Norovirus found on earlier cruise ship voyage

In a letter given to passengers when they boarded the P&O cruise liner Oriana ten days ago, the medical team admits that some passengers on a previous sailing had suffered from norovirus symptoms.

The company arranged for the liner to undergo an "extensive disinfection" while she was in Southampton. Some 300 passengers contracted norovirus during their trip.

Letter given to passengers on board the cruise ship P&O Oriana
Letter given to passengers on board the cruise ship P&O Oriana Credit: ITV News

P&O: norovirus was introduced by passengers

P&O has sent passengers who travelled on board the Oriana a letter advising them to take "extra precautions" to prevent the spread of the norovirus.

The letter says that the company suspected that the illness was "inadvertently introduced on board by embarking passengers" because of "currently elevated Norovirus activity throughout the United Kingdom".

It advised passengers that "the case numbers decreased rapidly during the cruise" and that "the ship has undergone an additional and extensive disinfection".

The letter sent to passengers by Dr Kate Bunyan
The letter sent to passengers by Dr Kate Bunyan Credit: ITV News
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