Norovirus outbreak shuts Maidstone hospital to visitors
A Kent hospital has been closed to visitors following an outbreak of the norovirus bug.
Three wards at Maidstone Hospital have been closed to new admissions and family and friends of patients have been told to stay away.
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust said 27 patients had norovirus.
Four wards have also been closed at The Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM) in Margate because of the bug.
Dr Sara Mumford, director of Infection prevention and control Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, said: "Visiting at Maidstone Hospital has been temporarily stopped following cases of norovirus.
"We realise that this might be difficult for some people who want to visit family and friends but we are very grateful for everyone's co-operation and understanding at this time.
"Norovirus is a particular problem for hospitals because we are looking after already unwell people who may have reduced immunity and are susceptible to infection.
"We will review the situation daily and let people know as soon as normal visiting hours can be resumed."'Seasonal sickness'
The norovirus bug can last for two or three days. People can be infectious for 48 hours before any symptoms appear.
Patients and visitors suffering from vomiting, sickness and diarrhoea have been advised to avoid coming to the QEQM unless "absolutely necessary".
East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has also urged anyone with symptoms to stay away from the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and William Harvey Hospital.
A spokesman East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust said: "The Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital is currently caring for people who have norovirus - a seasonal sickness currently in the area that causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea.
"You can help reduce the risk to our patients by visiting only if absolutely necessary - and please call the ward first for advice.
"Although the norovirus is not yet at Kent & Canterbury Hospital or William Harvey Hospital, please could all visitors follow the same advice - this will help keep our patients safe."