People in Sussex are being urged to play their part in reducing the spread of germs and bugs.
NHS Direct is handling more than 4,000 calls a week from people suffering from suspected norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting disease. The number seeking help for diarrhoea and vomiting has been rising in recent weeks as the virus begins to take hold. The Health Protection Agency has announced that 74 wards have had to be closed to help protect vulnerable patients since the summer.
Early warning signs from NHS statistics suggest that the biggest cause of pressure on NHS services this winter will be the norovirus. Outbreaks of the illness are common, particularly within contained environments such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools. This is because the norovirus spreads very easily from person to person and can survive for several days.
All healthcare providers within Sussex are using a toolkit which helps them prevent, identify early and control norovirus outbreaks. Key to success is avoiding exposure to the virus: carriers can be both patients who are admitted and visitors.
Dr Tom Scanlon, director of public health for Brighton and Hove said: “The norovirus is a particularly nasty bug which can easily create huge problems for our hospitals trying to cope with ill patients as well as for individual sufferers.
Each of us can do our bit to stop the spread of the virus, by observing the basic rules of good hygiene. This helped reduce the impact of pandemic flu last year and will do the same for norovirus.”
Key advice and information:
© Brighton and Hove City Primary Care Trust