new fears as sick bug returns

A FRESH health alert has been issued after cases of a winter vomiting bug started rising again in Wigan.

Ailing residents were particularly urged to steer clear of hospitals and nursing homes as visitors.

Dr Kate Ardern, Wigan’s Director of Public Health, said: “We know that these viruses are already circulating widely in the community. For example we have seen local nursing homes and nurseries affected.

“We are asking that anyone who is considering visiting relatives or friends within hospital, nursing home or residential home not to visit if they have any symptoms of diarrhoea and/or vomiting within the previous 48 hours. Should this virus get into a nursing home or a hospital, it can make residents or patients, who are already vulnerable, more seriously ill.

“Norovirus symptoms (diarrhoea and vomiting) can be best treated by staying at home, drinking plenty of fluids and rest.”

Advice on how to treat the illness can be obtained from GPs and local pharmacists. Hospital treatment is only necessary for people who have become very dehydrated and require intravenous fluids. This is unusual, but can happen in young children and older people.

Gill Harris, local Director of Infection Prevention and Control, said: “We have already had to restrict visiting in January of this year and again the last thing we need is for patients and staff to be affected by this virus.

“This could again ultimately lead to staff shortage, additional bed pressures and appointments being postponed.

“We are appealing to members of the public to be sensible and avoid attending or visiting our hospitals if they are affected by the symptoms so that we do not have to restrict visiting to wards.”