VISITORS to Sunderland Royal Hospital are being urged to stay away if they feel unwell because of an outbreak of Norovirus. 

Visiting at the hospital is being restricted to two visitors per patient and no children under the age of 12.

Anyone who has been feeling unwell with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting is asked to stay away to prevent the spread of Norovirus. 

Norovirus, which is very infectious, is the most common stomach bug in the UK. It is, generally, mild and most people make a full recovery within one to two days.

Paul McAndrew, deputy medical director at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are currently dealing with an outbreak of Norovirus, which is a very infectious vomiting and diarrhoea bug.

"Whilst Norovirus is the most common stomach bug in the UK and is, generally, mild, our first priority must be to protect vulnerable patients and, consequently, we are asking people to respect our current visiting guidance.

“Our infection prevention and control team are working extremely hard to prevent transmission of the illness, including constantly monitoring all ward areas to ensure that appropriate measures are in place so that affected areas can be re-opened as quickly as possible.

"The public have a very important role to play in helping us to protect patients and we really appreciate their support. We know how important visiting is to patients, and their relatives, friends and carers, and we are monitoring the situation regularly and hope that normal visiting access can be restored very soon.”

The trust says the outbreak comes at a time when the NHS in Sunderland, as in the whole of the North East, is under severe pressure and people across the region are being urged to stay away from Emergency Departments unless they are seriously unwell or in need of critical or life-saving care.

Anyone with diarrhoea and vomiting should wait for at least 48 hours after becoming clear of symptoms to visit.