Leeds residents urged: '˜Don't pay Christmas visit if you carry bug'

People visiting family and friends in hospitals across Leeds this Christmas are being warned to '˜visit responsibly' to help reduce the spread of norovirus.

Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK.

It is also referred to as the winter vomiting bug as it’s more common in winter, although you can catch it at any time of the year.

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The highly-contagious bug has already caused a number of ward closures throughout the region and national figures show the number of cases is rising steadily. Paul Twomey, Medical director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Although norovirus rarely requires medical treatment, for those who are already ill, it can be more serious and makes it more complicated for us to provide care in the hospital.

“Most people will normally recover from the virus within a few days, but will remain carriers of the virus for some time after symptoms have disappeared.

“For hospital patients, who can often be more vulnerable due to an existing illness or injury, the bug can sometimes have a more serious impact on their health.

“If you are feeling unwell, or actually have diarrhoea or vomiting, please don’t come into hospital as a visitor for at least 48 hours after the last symptom has disappeared.

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“Infection outbreaks in the community and in hospitals can happen quickly.

“Self-treating at home is the best way to alleviate the risk of putting already unwell people at further risk.

“It is vitally important we protect our patients. We really need visitors and members of the public to visit responsibly.”