Despite three outbreaks of diarrhoea and vomiting this winter, hospitals have not seen a rise in winter vomiting bug cases compared to last year.
There has been one outbreak at Epsom Hospital as well as two oubreaks at St Helier Hospital leading a section of a ward closing to new admissions for about four days.
But no wards are currently closed and the two hospitals have not seen an increased number of norovirus cases this winter.
Doctors and nurses are asking people to keep it that way by thinking twice about visiting hospital to stop the spread of the illness.
This winter there have been 30 patients with suspected norovirus at Epsom Hospital and 10 at St Helier Hospital.
Health Protection Agency figures published on January 2 show the number of people suffering from norovirus is 72 per cent higher than the same time last year.
Dr John Clark, lead doctor for infection prevention and control at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, said confirmed norovirus cases fluctuate from year to year but the significant rise was ‘worrying’.
Dr Clark said: "Whilst we haven’t seen an increased number of cases of norovirus at our hospitals, we have to do all that we can to protect our patients and their loved ones from this unpleasant illness.
"That’s why we’re asking local people to only come into hospital if they need to."
Hospitals are advising people to avoid coming in if suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting.
People are also asked to think twice before visiting friends and to avoid bringing in children.
Someone with norovirus can expect the symptoms to go away within one to three days, but if still feeling ill they should contact their GP or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 for advice.
For more information visit www.nhs.uk/norovirus .
Article from Alice Foster at epsomguardian
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