A number of patients at Sussex hospitals have gone down with a winter vomiting bug in recent weeks, sparking hygiene fears in the county.
In total, 14 people have been struck down by the infection, which has swept through the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, reports the Argus. Some 12 individuals have been affected at the former, while a further two cases have been reported at the latter of the two institutions.
Medical chiefs are now planning an emergency response in a bid to combat the bug and prevent it spreading any further. That could involve investing in new, highly effective cleaning products in a bid to wipe any germs from hospital wards in Sussex.
Bosses do not want to close wards, as this puts added pressure on other parts of their hospitals. It can also lead to longer waits and a higher workload for doctors and nurses, so it is very much a last resort.
A spokesman for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust told the newspaper that infection control measures have been implemented.
"If you feel unwell with gastrointestinal symptoms you should stay at home and drink plenty of water and not visit friends or relatives in hospital until you are free of the symptoms for at least 48 hours. Failure to do this will increase the risk of spreading the infection to patients and staff in hospital," he explained.
Although cases of winter vomiting bugs are more common at this time of the year, the spate of incidents in the region will be a concern.
The most common cause of infectious gastroenteritis in England and Wales is the Norovirus. It usually takes people between two and three days to overcome the bug, meaning plenty of extra pressure is placed on hospitals in an affected area.
With this in mind, it can be extremely worthwhile to ensure adequate cleaning takes place, minimising the risk of such viruses causing major disruption.