THREE hospital wards have been closed to new admissions following an outbreak of the highly infectious superbug, norovirus at the Royal Bolton Hospital.

The closures are to prevent the spread of the winter vomiting bug.

One care home has also been affected by the bug and there have been serveral cases in schools and nurseries.

A complex care ward and a gastroenterology ward were closed on Monday and a further complex care ward was closed yesterday with norovirus confirmed in all three.

Bosses avoided the spread of the bug, which had affected large numbers of people in the Bolton, before Christmas by urging people not to come to the hospital if they had any symptoms and restricted visitors to two per bed. Children were also banned from visiting.

Helen Clarke, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust associate director of patient safety/deputy chief nurse, said: “We had a positive response from the public before Christmas and that, combined with good hand-hygiene and adherence to infection control policies, helped to minimise the affect on the hospital.

“Now we are facing another wave of norovirus so we would like to remind everyone about the guidance.”

Graham Munslow, public health specialist, said the bug finds it easier to survive as temperatures drop.

He added: “Most of our winter has been relatively mild — heat helps to inactivate the bug. But as temperatures have started to drop, the bug finds it easier to survive. We tend to see an increase in number of cases when we have a cold snap in winter time. This is probably playing a part in the recent upsurge of cases.”

People thought to be suffering from the bug should stay away from school, not visit hospitals or care homes until they are symptom free for at least 48 hours.