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Last Updated: Friday, 4 January 2008, 11:20 GMT
Vomiting bug closes three wards
Norovirus particles
Norovirus causes sudden vomiting and diarrhoea
Three hospital wards in south-west England are closed to new admissions because of the vomiting bug norovirus.

Two wards remain closed to new admissions at the West Cornwall Hospital while one ward has been closed at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

The region's other main hospitals have not have closed wards.

Hospitals are advising people to be cautious about visiting if they have had symptoms in the last 48 hours or may have been in contact with the bug.

Sudden vomiting and diarrhoea
Some people also suffer fever and aches and pains
Experts advise drinking plenty of fluids and to take paracetamol
Stay at home for 48 hours after symptoms have gone away to avoid further spread

A spokesman for Torbay Hospital in Devon said it was clear of the norovirus at the moment.

The hospital in Torquay had been affected "on and off" by the virus since early November, with up to four wards at a time closed to new patients.

"We are still appealing to people to think twice about visiting or coming into A&E if they have the symptoms.

"It is the most common form of gastroenteritis, and we know it is still out there," said the spokesman.

Across England and Wales reported cases of the illness are at a five-year-high, but the real figure is likely to be much greater as most sufferers do not seek medical attention.

A spokesperson for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust said: "We have been aware of high levels of the virus in the local community since the end of November and early December.

"We have been encouraging visitors to keep visits to a minimum and certainly not to visit if they have been unwell themselves with sickness and diarrhoea, or in recent contact with others who have."

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