AN OUTBREAK of vomiting and diarrhoea at St Mary's Hospital has affected patients and staff and closed parts of a ward today (Wednesday).
Two bays on Colwell Ward remain closed to new admissions after five patients on the ward and five staff members showed signs of Norovirus, though that had not been confirmed.
A hospital spokesman said the situation appeared to be improving.
After an increase in the number of patients admitted to hospital with diarrhoea and vomiting in the last 24 hours, hospital staff reminded visitors who have had symptoms themselves in the last 48 hours to stop visiting friends and relatives in hospital or nursing and residential care homes.
Staff also advised visitors without any symptoms to visit only if absolutely necessary.
Chief executive Karen Baker said: "I would like to advise members of the public not to visit St Mary's unless it is essential.
"If you do have to visit the hospital for any reason, please make use of the hand gel and hand washing facilities provided. This is not only to protect patients who are vulnerable but also our staff who are needed to deliver our services."
It was advised that anyone who felt unwell with vomiting and or diarrhoea, who was planning to visit someone at hospital or in a home, stay at home for at least 48 hours to stop the spread of infection.
Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of fluids was also important, particularly for the elderly or very young who are most at risk.
Sufferers have been advised to telephone the NHS 111 service if symptoms persisted.
The NHS stressed good hygiene was important during outbreaks of vomiting and diarrhoea as it was highly contagious.
Washing hands with soap and water after being around someone ill, thorough cleaning of hard surfaces with a bleach solution — paying particular attention to the toilet and toilet area — will help prevent the spread of the virus.