Norovirus closes hospital wards

WARDS at a city hospital have closed and visitors told to stay away after an outbreak of the norovirus winter vomiting bug.

Eight of the nine wards at Liberton Hospital are currently closed to new patients as part of strict infection and prevention control procedures.

Relatives and friends of patients are being contacted by staff and are being advised not to visit the hospital in a bid to halt the spread of the outbreak.

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Dr Ingolfur Johannessen, chair of the incident management Team and consultant medical virologist at NHS Lothian, said: “A large number of patients at Liberton Hospital are affected by norovirus with a significant number testing positive for the virus.

“We have taken the decision to temporarily restrict visitors in a bid to prevent the further spread of the infection and to ensure the hospital returns to normal working as soon as possible.

“By restricting the number of visitors it is hoped that this will reduce the number of people who are exposed to norovirus and therefore shorten the duration of the outbreak.”

Prof Alison McCallum, director of public healthat the health board, added: “Our priority is always patient, public and staff safety. While we understand that this temporary visiting restriction may cause some frustration, this measure will allow us to help prevent further spread of the infection and ensure safe patient care.

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“We understand that there may be extenuating circumstances where members of the public need to visit loved ones, such as if they are seriously ill. If this is the case, relatives or friends are asked to call ahead to the ward to arrange visiting.”

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