Norovirus leads to Isle of Man hospital restrictions
The Department of Health has urged anyone suffering from the symptoms of the winter vomiting bug, Norovirus, to "stay away from hospital".
The warning comes after patients suffering with diarrhoea and vomiting, the symptoms of the highly contagious bug, attended A&E this week.
Dr Parameswaran Kishore said: "Anyone needing medical help should contact their GP by phone and avoid hospital."
Patients are asked to stay away from hospital wards, schools and care homes.
In 2011, a ward at Noble's hospital was closed to admissions after an outbreak.
The previous year two wards were closed due to the virus at the Ramsey and District Cottage Hospital.
The Health Protection Agency estimates there have been about 880,000 cases in England and Wales since the summer - 83% more than in the same period last year.
Over the past fortnight there have been numerous ward closures across the UK.'Extremely important'
The bug lasts between 24 and 48 hours and patients are advised to drink lots of water and eat easily-digestible food.
What is winter vomiting disease?
- Winter vomiting disease is caused by the small round structured virus (SRSV), also known as the Norwalk-like virus, or Norovirus
- Norovirus lives in the gut and is passed from person to person by poor hygiene after using the bathroom - i.e. not washing hands properly
- It can also be spread when someone vomits and small aerosols containing the virus enter the air
Isle of Man's director of health Dr Kishore said: "It is extremely important that people with the bug stay away from hospital wards, schools and care homes to help prevent the spread of the virus. It is best to stay at home".
"We can't send people to another hospital down the road so it is important to prevent it reaching hospital wards."
Even after the symptoms have passed, patients remain infectious for 48 hours, so those suffering are reminded to remain off work during this time.
The department of health has issued advice to people to prevent the spread of infection.
These include avoiding hospitals or old people's homes and washing hands thoroughly, especially after using the toilet and preparing food.