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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Cumbrian care home given all-clear in sickness bug scare

A visiting ban has been lifted at a care home for the elderly after test results for the highly contagious norovirus bug came back clear.

Five of the people living at Bethel House in Whitehaven were suspected of being the latest victims of the sickness bug which is sweeping west Cumbria.

Public health experts were called in and investigations immediately carried out while a deep clean of the St Bees road care home took place.Visiting was also restricted in a bid to curb the illness’ spread.

Environmental Health officers from Copeland Council visited the home and a spokeswoman said that all of the test results came back negative.

“Therefore it’s not norovirus or salmonella,” she added. “It’s now more than 48 hours since the last case so it’s likely to have passed and the notices will have been taken down off the doors.”

The illness, which affected five of the 60 residents, has been put down to a “typical sickness and diarrhoea” bug.

Dr Ken Lamden, consultant in communicable disease control at Public Health England’s Cumbria and Lancashire Centre said that infections of this type spread easily in environments where people live and work closely together, such as hotels, hospitals and residential care homes.

Dr Lamden said: “Good hygiene is the key to avoiding infection and it is particularly important to wash the hands thoroughly after using the toilet, before and after handling or preparing food and before eating.”

Pupils and staff from three west Cumbrian schools had contracted norovirus since attending proms at the Hunday Manor Country House Hotel at Winscales, Workington.

The hotel was closed last week while a thorough deep clean took place.

Joe Wilson, the hotel’s managing director, said the hotel reopened to residents yesterday and will be fully reopen from Friday.

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