Wiganers are being urged not to go to hospital or visit relatives if they have any of the symptoms typical of the winter vomiting bug.
The warning comes as figures revealed that Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust have had to close wards 10 times in the past few years because of norovirus.
We are asking members of the public to be sensible and not visit the hospital if you have any symptoms for 48 hours after the symptoms have ceasedLunda Barkness-Jones
The trust has already seen two cases of the bug in the first six months of 2016 at Wigan Infirmary but are expecting more as the weather begins to get colder allowing the bug to spread with ease.
The infirmary is the only WWL site to have reported cases of the bug in the last few years, with seven in total in winter 2015 and nine in 2014.
Lynda Barkess-Jones, Deputy Director of Infection Prevention and Control at WWL said: “We are asking members of the public to be sensible and not visit the hospital if you have any symptoms for 48 hours after the symptoms have ceased. “Any visitors who are symptom-free and still wish to visit are asked to wash their hands on entry and on leaving the ward and to refrain from eating and drinking whilst visiting.
“This advice is being given in order to limit the risk of visiting relatives acquiring the diarrhoea and vomiting virus. Similarly any relatives who have symptoms of this sort should not visit their relatives as they could infect them.”
Norovirus is not life-threatening but is extremely unpleasant for those who catch with symptoms including diarrhoea and projectile vomiting, fever, headaches and aching limbs.
Symptoms should last for around two days but the very old and very young may need hospital care if they become too dehydrated.
It is highly contagious and it is this that causes problems for hospitals as one ill visit can spread the virus easily amongst patients. This can lead to hospitals having to close wards to prevent the bug spreading to other areas.
A spokesman for WWL said: “We are pleased to report that so far this year we have only seen two cases of norovirus at our hospitals.
“However, we are appealing to members of the public to be sensible and would advise that anyone that has signs and/or symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting should not visit the hospital in order to protect the patients and staff.
“It is particularly important for people to use good hand washing and other hygienic practices as a matter of routine as this will help stop the spread of further infection.
“The best advice for members of the public with symptoms is to eat small amounts of food and drink water frequently to stay hydrated.
“The virus is normally a 36 to 48-hour bug and does not usually require medical intervention. However, further advice on how to treat diarrhoea and vomiting can be obtained from NHS111 on telephone number 111.”