A SECOND ward at the Highlands' main hospital has been closed due to diarrhoea and vomiting.
Ward 7C at Raigmore Hospital currently has nine patients affected. It was closed today
Ward 2C, which was closed on Saturday, currently has 19 patients affected.
Testing has confirmed norovirus is present on both wards.
The virus, which causes diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, spreads in the air where someone has had diarrhoea or vomited. It is extremely infectious.
It is important that everyone plays their part in reducing outbreak risks, say health chiefs.
Dr Chin Lim, consultant microbiologist for NHS Highland, said: “By restricting visiting to the affected area it helps hospital staff protect the health, privacy and dignity of our patients.
“We would stress that people do not come to the hospital/s to visit if they have, or live with someone who has, had any vomiting or diarrhoea within the previous 48 hours.
"To further help us limit the spread we would also ask that bringing children in to visit wards within the hospital is restricted as much as possible.
“Hospital staff will of course be very happy to talk to visitors on the phone so they can get updates on how their relatives are.”
If you feel that visiting is essential please contact the ward first by phone before coming to the hospital.
People are asked not visit any of the affected wards unless by prior arrangement with the nurse in charge.
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 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 other equipment around the bed.
For more information about hand hygiene visit the Scottish National Hand Hygiene Campaign website www.washyourhandsofthem.com
Norovirus fact file
- Norovirus occurs all year round, particularly every winter, in the community, and is unrelated to hospital cleanliness.
- There is no vaccine.
- The virus continually changes and people don’t develop lasting immunity, so you can catch it more than once in a season.
- Norovirus can survive for days on any surface – including exposed food and wrapped food items.
Advice to the public:
- Norovirus, commonly known as the winter vomiting bug, is a highly contagious virus which causes vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
- The first sign of norovirus is usually a sudden sick feeling, followed by forceful vomiting and watery diarrhoea.
- Symptoms usually last a couple of days, although this can be longer in elderly people.
- People are most likely to spread infection when they have symptoms and for up to 48 hours after your symptoms have gone.
- It is more serious and even more easily spread among people who are already ill.