People in County Durham and Darlington are being asked for
their help in keeping cases of vomiting and diarrhoea to a minimum
in their local hospitals this winter.
Members of the public with sickness or diarrhoea are being
asked not to come into hospital to visit relatives until they have
been symptom free for at least 48 hours and as a precautionary
measure, the elderly and young children are being asked not to
visit relatives or friends in hospital at this time.
Robin Mitchell, Medical Director for County Durham and
Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: "Cases of diarrhoea and
vomiting traditionally go up in the colder months, however, this
year levels in the north east are already especially
"The Trust has 50 patients affected across 5 wards with
suspected Norovirus across its two acute sites - Darlington
Memorial Hospital and University Hospital of North Durham - as well
as wards at some of its community hospitals.
"We have procedures in place to manage patients with such
symptoms which includes isolating them, making sure staff aren't
moving around and increasing cleaning and reinforcing infection
"As a precautionary measure we are also asking older
members of the community or young children not to come into
hospital to visit friends or relatives because they are the most
vulnerable at risk of catching the infection."
Members of the public with vomiting or diarrhoea are also
being urged not to visit relatives in hospitals until they have
been free of symptoms for 48 hours to help to limit the spread of
Most bouts of winter vomiting are caused by norovirus
infection which is the most common cause of gastro-enteritis in
England and Wales. It is estimated that norovirus affects
between 600,000 and one million people in the United Kingdom every
Noroviruses cause a very unpleasant but generally
short-lived illness from which people will usually recover without
treatment. The main symptom is vomiting, which can be
projectile in nature, and is sometimes accompanied by
diarrhoea. Some people may have a raised temperature,
headaches and aching limbs.
Norovirus is highly infectious and it can spread rapidly
in semi-closed communities such as hospitals. People feel very
unwell when they have a norovirus infection, but it is not usually
necessary to seek medical advice unless symptoms persist for more
than a few days.
People with symptoms should stay at home and take plenty
of fluids until they are free of symptoms for 48 hours. If the
illness persists for more than a few days, they should contact
their family doctor by phone or take advice from NHS Direct either
by calling 0845 4647 or visiting www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk.
In County Durham or Darlington, you can also call the 111
If people do become ill, they can also reduce the risk of
passing on the virus to others by:
Further information and guidance about norovirus is
available on the HPA website at:
Published: 17 December 2012
'Every aspect of my emergency care was dealt with quickly,
efficiently and professionally with full explanations and
compassion from all staff involved'.
Patient, Emergency Department, Darlington Memorial Hospital