People planning to visit a relative or friend in a care home or hospital in Walsall are being urged to stay away if they have experienced sickness and diarrhoea in the previous three days to avoid passing on stomach bugs including Norovirus.

Such infections are very easily spread from person to person especially in places where groups of people are together for periods of time such as in care home and hospital environments.

Joanne Ellison, Head of Infection Control for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are continuing to see cases of norovirus across the Walsall community.  We have patients in the Manor Hospital with Norovirus symptoms and we currently have one bay closed on ward 10 and ward 3 totally closed. This is so that we can contain the virus in the affected areas and protect the health of our patients and their visitors.

“We are asking people not to visit the hospital if they have sickness and diarrhoea, or they have recently experienced these symptoms. This is because people may still carry the virus and infect others up to three days after their own symptoms have stopped.

“We also request people do not bring children to visit patients on the wards affected as they can easily catch and transmit the bug.”

The most effective precaution against norovirus is to wash hands regularly with soap and water, and not just rely on hand gel. The virus is relatively short lived and the only treatment required is to drink plenty of fluid to stay hydrated. Anyone concerned about symptoms, or has a condition that is being affected should contact their GP by telephone, rather than go to the practice or health centre and risk spreading any infection.

If anyone has any concerns about being unable to visit a friend or relative in Walsall Manor Hospital, they should discuss this with the nurse in charge of the ward, who will consider the case of each patient on an individual basis. The nurse in charge can be contacted by calling the hospital’s switchboard on: 01922 721172.

People concerned about visiting a relative or friend living in a care home should phone the home beforehand for advice.