Norovirus Season Begins

Following an increase in levels of norovirus (commonly known as the winter vomiting bug) across Scotland, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) has confirmed that the norovirus season has begun.

Norovirus generally causes mild gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and/or diarrhoea but can be more serious among the elderly and people who are already unwell.

This week’s HPS norovirus report shows that four NHS Boards experienced norovirus activity, with six hospitals reporting a total of seven ward closures.

Dr Evonne Curran, Infection Control Nurse Consultant at HPS, said: “Norovirus is a highly infectious virus that causes outbreaks in the community, healthcare and care settings every year.

“This is about the time of year when norovirus season usually starts. Letting everyone know that norovirus season has started enables preparedness plans to be put in to action. Health professionals across NHS Scotland are working to minimise the likelihood of outbreaks arising and the public is being asked to play their part too.

“To help reduce the risk of outbreaks in hospitals, care settings and the wider community, we are again asking members of the public who think they have norovirus to “Stay at Home” until at least 48 hours after any symptoms have stopped.

“As norovirus is so infectious, it is important that everyone plays their part in reducing outbreak risks. To do this, hospitals may suspend access to particular wards to protect patients, staff and visitors from norovirus.

“With the public’s help, we can limit the impact of any norovirus outbreaks that do occur and minimise disruption to healthcare services.”

HPS will continue to monitor the situation on a weekly basis and will support NHS Boards as required to ensure that any disruption to healthcare services is minimised.