Winter sickness bug closes hospital wards

By Chief Reporter Michael Molcher

TWO of three wards at Harrogate District Hospital shut following an outbreak of a winter vomiting bug, which has hit more than 50 people, remain closed.

The hospital said 40 patients, 12 members of staff and some visitors had come down with viral gastroenteritis, commonly known as winter vomiting disease, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting.

Farndale Ward at Harrogate District Hospital was partially reopened on Wednesday and is expected to be fully open by today. But Byland elderly ward and Granby medical ward remain closed due to the bug.

In a bid to stop the bug spreading, anyone who shows signs of the illness is being advised to stay away from the hospital for at least 48 hours after their symptons cease.

The hospital has had small cases of the bug since October, but this is the first major outbreak of the winter at Harrogate.

Strict control measures were put in place by the hospital’s infection control team and all relatives and staff are being told to wash their hands before and after visits to infected wards.

Once a ward appears free of symptoms for 48 hours, it will be ‘deep cleaned’ before being reopened.

A spokesman said the outbreak had been “average” for Harrogate but much less severe than those at other hospitals in the region.

Harrogate Borough Council said it had some members of staff off sick with stomach complaints, but no more than previous years.