A SUSPECTED outbreak of Norovirus has forced the closure of a ward in Furness General Hospital, Barrow. 

The virus, which has caused diarrhoea and vomiting among patients on ward nine, has meant the ward has been closed to admissions.

Visiting to the ward is not affected, but relatives are being advised:

- not to visit with young children

- not to visit if they have suffered symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting within the last 48 hours

- only visit their own relatives/friends 

- comply with hand washing requests using soap and water before and after visiting any ward.

Norovirus, sometimes known as the winter vomiting bug, is the most common stomach bug in the UK. 

The virus is highly contagious and can spread rapidly in closed environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes. 

It can affect people of all ages and causes vomiting and diarrhoea.

Angela Richards, matron for infection prevention and control at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Norovirus can be spread through contact with an infected person, by contact with contaminated surfaces or by consuming contaminated food or water. 

"That is why we have taken the decision to close the ward to admissions.

“We hope by taking the measure to close the wards to admissions we can resolve this outbreak quickly. 

"However, we apologise for any disruptions caused to patients or visitors during this time.”