Norovirus, also known as “winter vomiting disease”, has broken out at Royal Bolton Hospital.

The outbreak is believed to have hit six wards at the Minerva Road hospital, where staff have asked all visitors to thoroughly wash their hands to help stop the spread of infections.

Hand washing facilities are available all throughout the hospital and visitors have been warned to washing their hands when leaving and entering clinical wards.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust deputy chief nurse Lianne Robinson said: “We don’t want to stop people coming in to visit their relatives and loved ones but if you do visit then please do everything you can to help stop the spread of norovirus.

“This can be done by thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water, and if you’d like to take extra steps you can ask on our wards for PPE.”

The Bolton News: The outbreak has been reported on six wardsThe outbreak has been reported on six wards (Image: Royal Bolton Hospital)

Norovirus is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea, which spreads rapidly in environments such as hospitals, schools, and care homes.

It is also known as the winter vomiting disease, the winter vomiting bug and as Norwalk.

It can spread through close contact with an infected person, by touching surfaces or objects that have the virus on them.

It can also be caught by eating food that’s been prepared or handled by someone with norovirus.

Anyone who has experienced norovirus symptoms in the past 48 hours has been advised to avoid visiting the hospital unless it is an emergency, or a health professional has told them to.

Signs a person is suffering with norovirus can include diarrhoea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms.

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To help stop infections spreading Royal Bolton staff on wards will help any patients with the appropriate PPE if they wish to wear it, which could include face masks, aprons and gloves.

Alcohol gel is less effective against norovirus, so hospital staff have asked visitors to use soap and water to wash their hands.

Ms Robinson said: “To check whether your loved one’s ward is affected before you visit you can call the ward directly, where a member of staff will best advise you.

“Thank you for all your help as we manage this outbreak.”