HINCHINGBROOKE Hospital, which may have another outbreak of the norovirus winter vomiting disease that resulted in ward closures before Christmas, is urging visitors to stay away from the wards. Due to a number of patients with infective diarrhoea and

HINCHINGBROOKE Hospital, which may have another outbreak of the norovirus "winter vomiting disease" that resulted in ward closures before Christmas, is urging visitors to stay away from the wards.

"Due to a number of patients with infective diarrhoea and vomiting on several wards, Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust is asking that members of the public do not visit wards unless given permission by staff," a spokesman said last night (Monday).

"This is a precautionary measure taken by the trust's infection control team and the situation will be continually reviewed to assess when wards can be reopened. Relatives of patients have been contacted by ward staff and will be informed if it is judged that they need to visit the hospital.

"To reduce the spread of infection, the infection control team has installed extra sinks in affected bays to increase hand washing and the wards are being intensively cleaned. Staff working on affected wards will also be wearing theatre scrubs," the spokesman added.

Patients will also be encouraged to send home any belongings which are not essential for their stay, in order to help staff maintain clean patient areas.

The cause is being thoroughly investigated by the trust's infection control team, the hospital said. The organism causing the condition was expected to be identified today (Tuesday).