180 hit as mussels cause hospital norovirus outbreak

At least 180 people have contracted norovirus after a visitor brought mussels into a hospital for an inpatient as a goodwill gesture.

An outbreak of the winter vomiting bug hit Wansbeck General Hospital in Ashington, Northumberland, forcing the NHS trust to impose restrictions on visitors in the run-up to Christmas.

Shellfish can harbour the norovirus bug and it’s thought this particular batch of mussels affected 180 people.

The outbreak happened in Wansbeck Hospital in Northumberland

Image: The outbreak happened in Wansbeck Hospital in Northumberland

Up until 22 December, full visitor restrictions applied across all wards except to those visiting patients receiving end of life care.

On 23 December, the Northumbria Trust will allow visitors between 2pm and 3pm, to unaffected wards, but warned this was subject to change.

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The norovirus causes sickness and diarrohoea

Image: The norovirus causes sickness and diarrohoea

Affected wards will be closed, but the trust explained it is reviewing the wards on a daily basis.

Visitors are advised to wash their hands thoroughly and use antibacterial gel, while anyone planning to visit the hospital is warned to stay away if they have norovirus or flu-like symptoms.