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Home   Medway   News   Article

Wards at Medway hospital closed after outbreak of superbug

06 January 2014
by Rebecca Hughes

Medway NHS Foundation Trust closed the first on December 27, and a second last weekend after patients began displaying symptoms of the winter vomiting bug. They were still closed on Friday.

Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham

Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham

A trust spokesman said: “Our infection control team has taken all necessary precautionary measures and will continue to assess infected patients on a daily basis.”

Hospital staff have also asked visitors to stay away if they have the bug’s symptoms of vomiting or diarrhoea for at least 72 hours after it has stopped. Other symptoms include: nausea, raised temperature, headaches, stomach cramps and aching limbs.

The bug is typically associated with the winter months. It is the most common stomach bug in the UK and can affect all ages.

Strict infection prevention and control precautions are put in place for affected sufferers.

Symptoms usually begin about 12 to 48 hours after the patient is infected and can last for 12 to 60 hours.

The illness starts with a sudden onset of nausea followed by projectile vomiting and/or watery diarrhoea. There is no specific treatment so sufferers are advised to let the illness take its course and drink lots of fluids. If the symptoms do not go away then seek medical advice.

The superbug can be dangerous for the very young, elderly, sick or frail.

Head of infection control, Linda Dempster, said: “Only a few consumed germs are necessary to cause an infection and it is most likely to occur through the months of November-April however, they can occur at anytime of year.”

"There is a need for us to focus on those patients that need immediate and urgent care at this time" - hospital spokesman 

As well as the closure of the two wards, the hospital is also facing a shortage of beds, which has lead to some non-urgent operations being cancelled

Patients were told they would be unable to book surgeries as the hospital was on ‘code red’.

A spokesman for the trust said: “Due to the high number of patients we are currently caring for who are acutely ill and require a longer hospital stay, we will not be carrying out some non-urgent surgery this week.

“Every patient that needs care and treatment will continue to receive it; we never turn patients away but there is a need for us to focus on those patients that need immediate and urgent care at this time.”

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