A THIRD ward at York Hospital has been hit by a sickness outbreak.

Hospital bosses have urged visitors to play their part in helping to combat the spread of norovirus after confirming that the stomach bug is affecting Ward 37.

The bug was confirmed on Ward 23 last Sunday, and Ward 39 has been affected by diarrhoea and vomiting since Tuesday.

Beverley Geary, Chief Nurse at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said the hospital was experiencing a high level of norovirus, which had resulted in the closure of wards and bays to stop the spread.

“Closing wards can help to contain the virus but visitors can play a huge part and we would ask them to think carefully before paying any non-essential visits at this time," she said.

“We are urging people who have been unwell with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting not to visit the hospital until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours. We are also asking people to stay at home if they have been in contact with a household member who has been symptomatic as the virus can also be passed on through this contact.

“This is really important because the virus is highly infectious and can be brought into the hospital by family, friends or relatives. She said the virus was easily spread by contact with an infected person, especially through their hands.

“If you have any concerns about exposure to the virus, the safest thing you can do is to stay at home.”

She said most people recovered within one or two days from norovirus but if symptoms persisted for more than 48 hours, the advice was not to come to A&E but to phone a GP or NHS 111.

"Patients, friends and relatives can visit our website www.york.nhs.uk or call the hospital before visiting to find out if a particular ward is affected."

She said the advice was:

• Please do not visit if you or a member of your household has nausea, diarrhoea or vomiting or had these symptoms within the last 48 hours

• If you have these symptoms during or after your visit please inform ward staff as soon as possible

• Always clean your hands before and after visiting your friend or relative using the hand wash facilities on the ward

• If the ward is closed due to diarrhoea and/or vomiting only essential visits will be permitted