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Norovirus is part of a group of viruses that are the most common cause of gastroenteritis (upset stomach) in the UK. It is also called the 'winter vomiting virus' because people usually get it during the winter months. However, it can occur at any time.

Outbreaks of the illness are common, particularly within contained environments such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools. This is because the norovirus spreads very easily from person to person and it can survive for several days in a contaminated area.

The norovirus can be spread through contact with an infected person, through contact with surfaces or objects that are contaminated with the virus, or by eating contaminated food or water.

We ask visitors to play their part in limiting the spread of the virus by:

  • staying away if they have signs or symptoms of the virus (i.e. vomiting or diarrhoea)

  • not visiting until they have been clear of symptoms for at least 48 hours

  • keeping their hands clean

  • avoiding bringing children into the hospital where possible

  • calling the hospital before visiting to find out if a particular ward is closed

  • respecting the fact that if a ward is closed, then visitors are not permitted unless there are special circumstances


Norovirus is often called the 'winter vomiting virus' because people usually get it during the winter months however it can occur at any time.


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While contagious viruses are active year-round, winter is a prime time for norovirus, colds, influenza (flu), and other respiratory illnesses.


These infections are highly contagious, so we urge people to stay away unless their visit is absolutely essential to help reduce the spread of infection within our hospitals.

Hospitals are full of sick people, many of them frail and elderly, so bringing germs into a hospital is the worst thing you can do.  We have an active programme of infection prevention but we can’t spot visitors who really shouldn’t be here.  Please stay at home if you’re unwell to help aid the wellbeing and recovery of our patients.