Norovirus cases at five year high piling pressure on stretched NHS

first_imgNick Phin, deputy director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England, said: “Norovirus is a common cause of illness during winter.”Exactly when the peak in activity occurs will be different each winter but levels seen so far this year are not unexpected compared with the previous five years.”The number of laboratory reports of the bug rotavirus this season is 1,136, which is also 3 per cent higher than the average for the period from 2003 to 2013.NHS England also released figures showing there were 291,808 calls to the NHS 111 service in the week ending on Christmas Day as temperatures plummet and a cold weather alert is issued.This was nearly 9 per cent fewer than the number of calls to the helpline in the same week last year.Of calls answered, 93.2 per cent were answered within 60 seconds and 1.5 per cent of patients abandoned their calls after waiting 30 seconds.A spokesperson for NHS England said: “The NHS’s tried and tested plans are currently managing the ongoing pressures of this winter. Going into the New Year holiday weekend, the public can play their part by avoiding going to A&E unless it is an emergency and using local pharmacy and NHS 111 for medical advice.” Norovirus cases are at a five year high, piling further pressure on stretched hospitals during the busy winter period, new figures show.Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows reports of the bug had reached 2,435 this season – 12 per cent more than the average for the same period over the last five years.The figure is also 71 per cent higher than the same period last year, although last winter saw unusually low levels of norovirus.In the week ending on Christmas Day, the outbreaks of vomiting and diarrhoea resulted in more bed closures than during the same period last year – rising from an average of 559 beds closed per day to 699.Hospitals reported 20 outbreaks of norovirus in the first two weeks of December – 17 of which led to bay or ward closures and 13 of which were confirmed as the bug.In total so far this season, there have been 163 hospital outbreaks reported. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Warning to dog walkers after golden retriever died from eating poisonous fish

first_imgDog walkers are being warned to keep their animals under close supervision when visiting British beaches after several dogs were poisoned by eating sea life that was stranded by storm Eleanor.”People need to keep their pets under control,” said John Milton, the head of nature reserves at Norfolk Wildlife Trust.”Dogs will pick up carrion that’s been washed-up and there are fish and star fish that are toxic.”At least one dog has already died from consuming sea life that was beached by the storm.The golden retriever called Hattie became became unwell after a trip to Cley next the Sea in Norfolk where its owner, Mike Hamilton, said it had been picking up and eating bits of fish and starfish along with his other dog, Bramble. During storm Eleanor beaches across Britain’s east coast saw large quantities of sea life and debris dumped on shorelines. This included thousands of starfish that were washed up at Gibraltar Point in Lincolnshire, along with dead fish and molluscs.Marine experts have said that some of the creatures may have been washed by the Atlantic Drift from tropical waters like the Caribbean into the much colder seas off Britain following hurricanes.In response to the dog poisonings the Environment Agency is conducting water quality tests. The public body has said that it is not aware of “any water quality issues or ongoing pollution incidents”. Hattie the golden retriever died suddenly after eating dead fishCredit:Wessex News  “What we found so distressing was the speed we lost Hattie – that was really shocking,” said Hamilton.The dog started vomiting as it walked back to the car and an hour later it died in the back of the vehicle as it was being driven.Bramble also became seriously ill. It has received antibiotics and rehydration treatment.Another dog fell ill in a separate incident after eating a flatfish on Holkham beach, also in Norfolk. The dogs had been in Cley next the Sea in Norfolk Credit:Lonely Planet /David Tipling Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Cley in Norfolk Hattie the golden retriever last_img read more

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