HEALTH officials say there is no Norovirus ‘outbreak’ as the sickness and diarrhoea bug is reportedly sweeping across the country.

A number of people have been struck by the bug in Devon, Cornwall, Gloucestershire and other parts of the UK.

Norovirus causes nausea, diarrhoea and projectile vomiting and while reports are normal for this time of the year, advice is being given to stop it spreading.

Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director, Public Health England, said: "The number of laboratory reports for norovirus are in line with expected figures for this time of year, which is inconsistent with reports of an outbreak.

"PHE continually monitors laboratory reports of norovirus and other illnesses.

"Sickness and diarrhoea can be caused by different stomach bugs, including norovirus, and can be avoided by practicing good hygiene.

"This includes thorough hand washing with soap and hot water after using the toilet and before eating or preparing foods. Anyone with vomiting and diarrhoea should not be preparing food for others."

Musgrove Park Hospital, in Taunton, which has not in an increase in admissions displaying symptoms, has nonetheless issued the advice below in an attempt to prevent Norovirus from spreading. More information is available on the hospital's website.

Somerset County Gazette:

Preventing the spread of norovirus

  • Norovirus is easily spread. If an infected person doesn't wash their hands before handling food, they can pass the virus on to others. You can also catch it by touching contaminated surfaces or objects.
  • Follow the measures below to help prevent the virus spreading.
  • wash your hands frequently
  • don't share towels and flannels
  • disinfect surfaces that an infected person has touched.
  • Outbreaks of norovirus in public places, such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools, are common because the virus can survive for several days on surfaces or objects touched by an infected person.
  • If you have norovirus, you may continue to be infectious for a short period after your symptoms stop. You should therefore avoid preparing food and direct contact with others for at least 48 hours after your symptoms disappear.

Somerset County Gazette:

What is norovirus?

  • Norovirus, sometimes known as the winter vomiting bug, is the most common stomach bug in the UK.
  • The virus is highly contagious. It can affect people of all ages and causes vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • There's no specific cure for norovirus, so you have to let it run its course. It's usually mild and shouldn't last more than a couple of days.
  • The period from when you're infected to when you start to show symptoms (the incubation period) usually lasts between 12 and 48 hours. You may be infectious to other people during this time.
  • Although having norovirus can be unpleasant, it's not usually dangerous and most people make a full recovery within a couple of days without having to see their GP.
  • Read more about the symptoms of norovirus.

What should I do if I think I have norovirus?

  • If you have norovirus, follow the steps below to help ease your symptoms:
  • drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
  • take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains
  • if you feel like eating, eat foods that are easy to digest
  • stay at home – don't go to see your GP or hospital unless necessary because norovirus is highly contagious and there's nothing your GP can do while you have it
  • contact your GP to seek advice if your symptoms last longer than a few days or if you already have a serious illness
  • Extra care should be taken to prevent babies and small children who have diarrhoea and vomiting from dehydrating by giving them plenty of fluids. Babies and young children can still drink milk.