Vomiting bug puts three hospitals on red alert

Almost three million people may have contracted norovirus this winter, according to new figures. Cases of the vomiting bug were also partly to blame for three hospitals being placed on red alert, an NHS manager said yesterday.

Lincoln County Hospital, Grantham and District Hospital and Boston's Pilgrim Hospital have been put on their highest state of alert after patient admissions rose by 20 per cent.

The Health Protection Agency confirmed that laboratory reports of norovirus in England and Wales in the last three months of 2007 were double that of the year before. There were 1,922 lab reports of the bug from September to December, compared with 935 cases in the same three months of 2006, the HPA said.

Laboratory reports in December reflected "a tiny fraction" of all the people infected, the HPA said. It estimated that for every case it recorded another 1,500 went unreported.

This would equate to about 2.9 million people infected this winter.

The HPA said that the norovirus season had started "uncharacteristically early", with a greater number of cases nationally from the first week of November.

Improved reporting and testing may have contributed to the recorded increase in outbreaks of the disease, which causes vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhoea. On Thursday five patients were admitted with norovirus to Grantham and District Hospital, while another three contracted it overnight. Yesterday five staff at the hospital were off sick with the bug.

The NHS trust that runs the three hospitals has been forced to open 85 beds in day care units, a specialist eye ward and a ward reserved for the elderly.

George Briggs, general manager for emergency care for Grantham, Lincoln and Louth, said: "We always expect an increase in the winter and put some beds to one side. But we didn't expect a 20 per cent increase in admissions."

Doctors estimate that more than 100,000 people a week are catching the norovirus.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer / Systems Administrator

    £25000 - £32500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in SW London, this compan...

    Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion this leading designer and sup...

    Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Assistant

    £19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a friendly, confident i...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Primary Teaching Assistant

    Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: At Tradewind Recruitment we are currently l...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee