PEOPLE who have been visiting mainland friends and relatives over the Christmas holiday should take extra care not to spread disease when they return home to the Isle of Wight, health bosses said today (Friday).
The warning follows a rise in cases of vomiting and diarrhoea across the south coast, particularly in Southampton, over the last three weeks.
Dr Emily MacNaughton, an infection control doctor at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, said: "If you are visiting healthcare, hospital, nursing or residential care home facilities for any reason please make use of the hand gel and hand washing facilities provided. This protects patients, residents, staff and yourself.
"We don’t currently have any beds closed at St. Mary’s Hospital and that is the way we want to keep it."
Anyone who has been unwell with vomiting or diarrhoea should not visit people in hospital or care homes, to prevent the spread of infection.
The Isle of Wight Council's acting director of public health, Simon Bryant, said: "Good hand hygiene is important at all times but especially when children, older or vulnerable people are concerned.
"The simple act of washing your hands on a regular basis, especially after visiting the toilet and before eating food, can do a lot to prevent the spread of this highly infectious disease.
"It’s in our collective hands to stop this affecting the Island."