A WARD at the Conquest Hospital has been closed following an outbreak of norovirus.
McDonald ward was shut to new admissions this week after several patients displayed symptoms of the illness, commonly known as the winter vomiting bug.
A hospital spokesman said one case of norovirus was confirmed on Wednesday and two patients were displaying symptoms.
The ward will be closed until at least 48 hours after it is free of the bug.
The hospital is urging people with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting to stay at home, drink plenty of water and not visit friends or relatives in hospital until they are free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.
Failure to do this increases the risk of spreading the infection to patients and staff in hospital.
Norovirus is highly infectious and is the most common cause of infectious gastroenteritis in the UK.
The illness is generally mild and people usually recover fully within two to three days.
There are no long-term effects that result from being infected.
Infections can occur at any age because immunity is not long lasting.
Norovirus is not dangerous in itself and is not uncommon at this time of year but can spread easily.
But it can be debilitating for elderly or weak patients.
Tina Lloyd, assistant director of infection prevention and control for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest and Eastbourne’s District General Hospital, said: “Norovirus is highly infectious. To help contain it, particular attention to good hygiene measures should be observed.
“It is very important to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with someone who is ill and after using the toilet, especially if you are suffering from symptoms.
“Thorough cleaning of hard surfaces with a bleach solution, paying particular attention to the toilet and toilet area and cleaning up vomit and the surrounding area quickly will help to reduce environmental contamination and reduce the risk of infection in others coming into contact with these surfaces later on.
She added: “When visiting a relative or friend in hospital we do not recommend storing food in open containers in ward areas such as fruit bowls so bring food gifts for patients in sealable containers only.”