Norovirus outbreak forces James Cook Hospital ward closures

Three wards have been closed at Middlesbrough's James Cook hospital following an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug norovirus.

South Tees Hospitals Trust said two surgical wards and a general medical ward had been closed to new admissions.

The trust has urged any visitors with symptoms of vomiting or diarrhoea to stay away from the hospital.

Norovirus is "highly-infectious and can spread rapidly", said consultant Dr Richard Bellamy.

'Minimise infection'

"Unfortunately this means we can have ward closures at this time of the year as the bug passes quickly between patients, visitors and staff," said Dr Bellamy, an infectious diseases expert.

"This, in turn, can impact on our sickness rates and availability of beds.

"The situation is being reviewed on a daily basis and we have closed the affected wards to new patients coming into hospital.

"To minimise the risk of infection spreading further, patients on the ward will not be transferred onto other wards or discharged to other hospitals, nursing and residential homes."

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