2:37 am, Wed 05 Dec 2012
More than half a million people have contracted norovirus already this winter as cases are 64 per cent higher than this time last year, according to the
Health Protection Agency figures show that around 666,144 people have fallen ill so far this winter.
12:58 pm, Tue 27 Nov 2012
The NHS is "well prepared" to cope with winter-related health problems, according to the Department of Health, despite Britain being in the grip of a winter vomiting outbreak.
Thousands of cases have struck England and Wales and 45 hospital wards have been forced to close.
The NHS is well prepared for the increase in winter-related health problems which are typical at this time of year.
Anyone who thinks they may have norovirus should avoid their doctor's surgery or A&E as this could spread the illness to vulnerable people and healthcare workers. Patients with symptoms should call NHS Direct or their local GP practice for advice.
For most people affected by norovirus it is an unpleasant but short-lived illness. There is no specific treatment but patients are advised to take plenty of drinks to replace lost fluids.
– Department of Health spokeswoman
11:54 am, Tue 27 Nov 2012
The winter vomiting outbreak spreading through Britain has led to 45 hospital wards being closed in the last two weeks.
The closures reflect the desire of hospitals to contain an extremely contagious infection.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced that 1,975 cases have struck in England and Wales since July, a 52% rise on last year.
Outbreaks of norovirus in hospitals can be disruptive and often lead to ward closures.
It is beneficial to try and limit the opportunities for the virus getting into hospitals in the first place.
Everyone can help to minimise the risk of outbreaks at their local hospital by not going if they have the typical symptoms of a norovirus infection.
– John Harris, expert in norovirus at the HPA
7:41 am, Tue 27 Nov 2012
Daybreak's Health Editor Dr Hilary Jones has told viewers that Norovirus is "very bad news".
He said: "Although it's not hugely a life-threatening it is the most common form of gastroenteritis in adults in the UK."
5:06 am, Tue 27 Nov 2012
Norovirus symptoms include a sudden onset of vomiting - which can be projectile in nature - and/or diarrhoea - which may be profuse and watery.
Some people may also have a temperature, headache and stomach cramps. The illness usually completely resolves in one or two days and there are no long term effects.
For most people affected by norovirus it is an unpleasant but short lived illness.
There is no specific treatment other than to let the illness run its course, taking plenty of drinks to replace lost fluids.
4:51 am, Tue 27 Nov 2012
Norovirus is normally brought into hospitals by patients, visiting relatives or even staff.
It is also linked to outbreaks at schools and is responsible for many hospital admissions for young children.
A Warwick Hospital has banned visitors because of the outbreak
Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
The elderly are also vulnerable because they can become dehydrated quickly and end up requiring more hospital treatment.
It is extremely contagious and is often spread by touching the same doors or stair rails as someone with the virus.
Experts also say that when a patient vomits, there is a strong chance anyone else in the room will be infected.
It puts the NHS under huge strain because hospitals have to close wards - which limits the number of patients that can be admitted.