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Last Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
Sickness bug closes holiday isle
Lundy's west coast
Lundy attracts holidaymakers looking for peace and quiet
A wildlife haven off the north Devon coast has been closed to the public until 4 October after a stomach bug hit residents and visitors.

Lundy Island bosses announced the "drastic action" as they battled to stop a virus sweeping the community.

Fifty four people have had vomiting and diarrhoea since the outbreak started in the Bristol Channel island last month.

Landmark Trust, which manages Lundy, said the virus was believed to be airborne and not food or water-related.

'Desperately sorry'

The Trust's 26 staff were working with Torridge District Council and the Health Protection Agency to eradicate the virus which lasts for about 24 hours.

The Trust runs 23 holiday cottages, a shop and a pub on the island which is owned by the National Trust.

The island's passenger boat, MS Oldenburg, will also be disinfected as part of the clean-up.

Derek Green, the island's manager, said: "We have great sympathy with everyone who has been ill.

"We are desperately sorry for the impact this will have on those who were planning to holiday or visit Lundy over the next couple of weeks."

Those who had booked would be contacted to reschedule their visits.

Ray Webster, head of environmental health at Torridge District Council said: "The council is working to ensure the outbreak is brought to a swift end so that normal life can resume on Lundy and visitors will be able to enjoy the island once again."

The outbreak will hit the Landmark Trust's income at a time when it is trying to raise money to repair the main road on the island.



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