Health officials with Isle of Wight NHS report that Poppy Unit, an acute ward out in the community at Solent Grange Nursing Home, has been affected by an outbreak of diarrhea and vomiting. The virus has affected a number of staff and patients on the unit.

Image/Isle of Wight NHS
Image/Isle of Wight NHS

Immediate action has been taken to help contain the virus and minimize the risk of it spreading to other patients. Poppy Unit is currently closed to new admissions and the movement of staff between affected and non-affected areas is restricted.

Those planning to visit Poppy Unit should only do so if it is essential and this will be at the discretion of unit staff.    No children (aged 16 and under) or elderly or vulnerable adults (e.g. those with existing long term conditions) should visit Poppy Unit.

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

Dr Emily MacNaughton, Consultant Microbiologist at St. Mary’s Hospital, said: “Norovirus has been confirmed on Poppy Unit. It is highly contagious and extremely unpleasant. Anyone who has had it will know how aggressive it can be and how quickly it can spread, often affecting the whole household. We have strict infection control measures in place at Poppy Unit and are closely monitoring the situation. For this reason it has been necessary to restrict visiting until the situation is fully resolved.”

“Dr Macnaughton continued: “If you are visiting the hospital, or any nursing or residential care home facilities for any reason, please make use of the hand washing facilities provided.   This protects patients, residents, staff and yourself.   We really do not want this virus affecting staff and patients at St. Mary’s Hospital.

It is vital that anyone who is feeling unwell with vomiting and/or diarrhea 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.

Good hygiene is important during outbreaks of diarrhea and vomiting.  To prevent becoming infected it is very important to wash your hands with soap and water after you have been around someone who is ill.  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.