CHILDREN have been banned from visiting the Royal Bolton Hospital as cases of the winter vomiting bug are confirmed.
Patients have been diagnosed with norovirus on two wards and staff are currently monitoring all patients with sickness and diarrhoea.
People are being asked not to take children to visit sick relatives in the hospital, and planned visits to the children’s ward from Bolton Wanderers players and the cast of the Octagon’s Peter Pan have been cancelled as staff try to contain the bug and prevent the highly contagious norovirus from spreading.
Members of the public are being urged not to go to the hospital if they have had vomiting or diarrhoea in the past 48 hours and adult visitors are being limited to two per bed.
The hospital has warned there may be further visiting restrictions if the bug continues to spread.
The news comes as ward C1, a cardiology ward hit by norovirus last week, reopened yesterday.
Nine patients and four members of staff were hit by the bug, leading staff to close the ward to new admissions on December 13.
Yesterday, some adult patients on five other wards who had sickness and diarrhoea were being monitored.
Only two patients have been confirmed as suffering from norovirus, a patient on ward G4, female orthopaedics, and a patient on D1, medical admissions.
Heather Edwards, head of communications at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said the measures were being taken as a “precaution” as there were cases of sickness and diarrhoea in the community.
The cast of Peter Pan were due to visit the children’s ward yesterday evening but this was cancelled at the last minute.
A planned visit of Bolton Wanderers players to the children’s ward was due to take place today but this has also been cancelled.
The outbreak is being blamed on people going to the hospital who are carrying the norovirus bug.
There is currently a national outbreak of the virus, which thrives in places where there are large numbers of people in close proximity — such as hospitals, care homes and schools.
City Hospital in Birmingham was closed to new admissions because of high numbers of patients diagnosed with norovirus.
In Bolton, two schools — St Mary’s CE, in Deane and Sharples Primary — were shut to allow a “deep clean” after outbreaks affected dozens of pupils and staff.
Two care homes in Bolton have also been affected.
Mrs Edwards said the hospital has seen a rise in cases of people with sickness and diarrhoea visiting A&E.
People with norovirus are advised not to go to their GP or A&E but to take advice from either NHS Direct or their GP by phone.
They should wash hands thoroughly and regularly at all times, especially after using the toilet and before eating.
Mrs Edwards added: “The hospital is monitoring the situation very closely and if necessary may have to have more restrictions as some people in the hospital are very vulnerable.
“The cast of Peter Pan and the Wanderers players are as disappointed as we are but we all feel it is the right thing to do.
“The message is, don’t come and visit if you or your family members have recently had or still have symptoms.”
The hospital has put up posters asking people to wash their hands regularly and has updated their hold message on the telephone system to warn people about the bug.