Sunday, 28 December 2008

Different kettle of fish now


In the early 70s I used to work in the university holidays at the old East Surrey Hospital just by Redhill Common. I don't remember any outbreaks of winter vomiting viruses or wards closed - it was unheard of. Even on Christmas Day, the patients and their visitors would go and sit in the sun rooms if they could, and enjoy the daylight and change of air.

It's a rather different kettle of fish nowadays at the current East Surrey Hospital.

On Saturday 18th December there were 8 new inpatient cases of that Norovirus, as well as admission from A&E, and 16 ongoing symptomatic inpatients. Overall, since the beginning of December, there have been 99 patient cases and 16 staff members affected. The hospital has a number of wards closed, as well as some bays in others also affected.

They say that there are no long-term effects....

...but an October 08 scientific report states otherwise: - Deaths from norovirus among the elderly, England and Wales Emerging Infectious Diseases, by John P. Harris, W. John Edmunds, Richard Pebody, David W. Brown, Ben A. Lopman.

An estimated 80 deaths each year in this age group may be associated with norovirus infection.

That sounds like a pretty long term effect if you happen to be over 65. The data came from the Office of National Statistics and the Health Protection Agency. If you read the whole paper you will see they are expecting it to get worse.

Back in August the Hospital Trust admitted to me online that they don't carry out microbiological tests within ventilation systems or have any system of eradicating those germs. Neither they, nor the HPA followed up my messages about how this can be put right with UV GI technology, so let's just hope they haven't caused any deaths by their oversights and faulty systems. I could name names, but they know who they are.

This picture shows some contact plate results from the air handling units of 2 NHS hospital operating theatres. The first one shows the growth of germs if you don't do anything about it; the second one shows no growth of germs if you do install UV GI. There is an added blessing that it saves on operating costs.

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