St George’s Hospital in Tooting is urging people suffering from the winter sickness bug norovirus to contact their GP or pharmacy for treatment instead of bringing it into the wards.

The bug, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, can be easily spread in the first 48 hours, and could put vulnerable patients and staff at risk, it said.

Michael Bailey, medical director of St George’s NHS Trust, said: “Staff are working very hard to prevent this illness from spreading more widely around the hospital.

“We appreciate that friends and relatives want to visit their loved ones, but if they are suffering with any symptoms of this virus, they must stay away until they are no longer infectious.”

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