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stmarys400A number of patients with diarrhoea and vomiting, due to norovirus, have been identified on an acute medical ward at St Mary’s Hospital in the last 24 hours, resulting in the closure of a ward to new admissions.

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust has today taken immediate action to close Colwell Ward to new admissions, a decision that will be reviewed in the next 48 hours. Those planning to visit Colwell Ward should only do so if it is essential and this will be at the discretion of ward staff.    No children (aged 16 and under) or elderly or vulnerable adults (e.g. those with existing long term conditions) should visit Colwell Ward.

There is evidence from past norovirus incidents that the virus is brought into hospital by either unwell patients or visitors.  Isle of Wight NHS Trust is also aware of an increased number of vomiting and diarrhoea cases in the Island community.

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It is vital that anyone who is feeling unwell with vomiting and/or diarrhoea, and planning to visit their friend or relative in hospital, nursing or a residential home, stays at home for at least 48 hours after the symptoms stop to avoid the spread of infection. Keeping hydrated and drinking plenty of fluids is very important, particularly for the elderly and the very young who are most at risk. If the symptoms persist, telephone NHS 111. Further details of symptoms are available on the NHS Choices website

Good hand hygiene using soap and water is important during outbreaks of norovirus as it is highly contagious. Thorough cleaning of hard surfaces with a bleach solution, paying particular attention to the toilet and toilet area, will help to reduce the spread of the virus.

The Trust would like to stress that this decision does not affect any outpatient appointments or clinics and patients should attend as normal.

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