South West Wales

Morriston hospital reopens one of seven wards

One of the seven wards closed by a winter vomiting bug at a Swansea hospital has reopened but visitors are still not allowed in.

The ban is aimed at stopping the spread of the norovirus at Morriston Hospital.

Mangers say family members can visit children - and other patients in "exceptional circumstances" - and they are being sensitive to patients' needs.

The viral infection can causes diarrhoea and vomiting, and is contagious.

The incubation period is anything from four hours to three days, and symptoms usually last 12 to 60 hours.

The decision to close the hospital to visitors has been defended by health care professionals.

Tina Donnelly, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales, said it was right to try to contain it.

She said: "Once you've got a carrier or somebody who's infected after they've had the initial symptoms, they remain infectious for another 48 hours or thereabouts and consequently because its a virus it is very, very difficult to contain.

"So what you do want to do is to stop new exposure to vulnerable people - anybody when they are in hospital is extremely vulnerable.

"By curtailing visiting you are trying to contain the infection and by doing that you're making sure that you've got sufficient staff who are not affected to be able to look after those patients as well."

Victoria Franklin, executive for infection prevention and control at the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABM), said managers were being sensitive.

"Of course we recognise that people wish to see their loved ones and we value visiting as it's a very important part of the healing process," she said.

"So what we've actually said is we're asking visitors not to visit Morriston Hospital, but where there are exceptional circumstances of course that will be taken into consideration."

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