Trust is beating the winter vomiting bug

West Herts NHS Trust Dr Colin Johnston.
West Herts NHS Trust Dr Colin Johnston.

Despite cases of the winter vomiting bug soaring to a five year high nationally, West Herts is bucking the trend.

The NHS trust that runs Hemel Hempstead’s Urgent Care Centre and Watford General Hospital has reported just one case of the highly contagious norovirus since the summer. It involved a patient at Watford who was struck down in the last month.

It is in stark contrast to the national picture with the latest figures showing a 52 per cent rise in cases from July 2 to November 12 compared to the same period last year.

This equates to 1,975 outbreaks compared to 1,301 during the same period in 2011 and has seen wards shut down in a bid to prevent the bug from spreading.

The virus causes vomiting and affects 600,000 to one million people in the UK every year but is normally a short-lived infection from which people usually recover within 12 to 60 hours.

West Herts NHS Trust medical director and director of patient safety Dr Colin Johnston said: “Due to the trust’s strict infection control procedures and the vigilance of its staff, the trust has had only one reported case of norovirus since July.

“Any visitors to our hospital sites are reminded to gel their hands with the hand rub provided on entering and leaving the wards, not to sit on the beds and not to visit if they have had any diarrhoea or vomiting within the preceding 48 hours.

“We also discourage children from visiting.”

Norovirus can be transmitted from person-to-person, by consuming contaminated food or water or through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.

Sufferers should make sure they drink plenty of fluids – taking small sips at regular intervals – or take an over the counter rehydration remedy.