Royal Preston Hospital has become the latest casualty of a highly contagious winter vomiting bug.
Around 13 patients on Ward 25, which is the renal ward at the hospital, have been struck by sickness and diarrhoea which is suspected to be caused by an outbreak of norovirus.
However, hospital bosses say the illness has been contained to that particular ward and no other parts of the hospital are affected.
They also say they have not closed the ward or restricted visitors. However, they are urging visitors displaying symptoms of sickness or diarrhoea to stay away from the hospital.
Instead of closing the affected ward, infection control chiefs have cohorted the affected patients into one bay to reduce the risk of spreading the virus as well as stepping up their decontamination practices.
Debbie Fielding, associate director of patient safety and risk for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said, “We can confirm that winter vomiting is currently affecting around 13 patients on one ward.
“Last year we developed a series of measures, adopted nationally as best practice, to reduce the spread of winter vomiting bugs, which is proving to be effective in containing the virus and reducing the impact on patients, visitors and on the running of the hospital.
“We are continuing to admit patients who require hospital care, and visitors are welcome as usual.
“As ever patients’ families and friends should not visit hospital if they themselves are unwell to prevent passing on bugs to patients whose immune systems may be more vulnerable than usual.”
The Health Protection Agency has revealed there has been a massive rise in the number of people hit by norovirus this year and estimate that for each laboratory confirmed case, there are 288 unreported ones.
The Evening Post revealed last week that there had been 10 outbreaks of norovirus reported in Preston at care homes, nurseries and schools.
Norovirus is highly contagious and can be transmitted by contact with an infected person, by consuming contaminated food or water or by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.
Symptoms include a sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhoea, while some people may have a temperature, headache and stomach cramps.
Although norovirus is an unpleasant illness, most people recover in 24 to 48 hours.