Only a small number of winter vomiting cases have been seen at Espom, Sutton and St Helier hospitals amid reports of outbreaks and ward closures nationwide.

Laboratory reports of the highly contagious bug norovirus so far this season are 52 percent higher than during the same period last year across the country, according to the Health Protection Agency.

Doctors at the Espom, Sutton and St Helier Hospitals are advising anyone with the infection to stay at home in a bid to stop its spread.

Dr John Clark, the trust’s lead doctor for infection prevention and control, said: "We have already seen a small number of cases in our hospitals over the last few weeks.

"But by following our strict guidelines for treating those with symptoms (such as isolating the patient), we have been able to stop it from spreading and our hospitals are running as usual.

"However, because norovirus is so infectious and doesn’t have a particular treatment, we are asking the public to help limit the spread by staying away from hospitals if they are unwell.

"By doing so, we will be able to reduce the chance of our patients being exposed to the illness.

"If you, or one of your family has diarrhoea and vomiting, please remain at home until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.

"However, if symptoms persist for more than a few days, please seek advice from your GP."

The first symptom is genrally a sudden onset of nausea followed by projectile vomiting and watery diarrhoea.

Some patients may have a mild fever, headaches, stomach cramps or aching limbs.

For more information about viral infections, including norovirus, visit