HEALTH bosses are urging people to help prevent the spread of norovirus in Bolton.

Everyone who has symptoms of the winter vomiting bug or feels unwell is being told not to visit relatives and friends in hospital.

The Royal Bolton Hospital currently has five wards affected by norovirus.

NHS Bolton the primary care trust for Bolton, is also warning people not to risk taking the infection into nursing homes, schools and other areas.

Heather Edwards, the hospital’s head of communications, said: “We have three medical wards which are not accepting new admissions due to norovirus.

“There are also two wards which each has a bay where one or more patients have norovirus, and these are also not taking new admissions.

“There is still norovirus in the community. We’re asking members of the public to help by not visiting if they or someone close to them has had any recent symptoms.”

NHS Bolton is also issuing advice over visits.

Jan Hutchinson, director of public health, said: “Norovirus spreads very easily. It’s really important people don’t risk bringing it into nursing homes, hospitals, schools, or other areas where people are close together.

“We are urging people not to visit relatives or friends in any hospital or nursing home if they feel at all unwell, or have had any symptoms of diarrhoea or sickness in the previous two days.

“We would also ask that only close relatives visit, and one or two at a time, to minimise the risks.”

She added: “Children are particularly likely to carry bugs without signs of illness, so should not be visiting hospitals at present.

“There’s a risk to some visitors — those who are pregnant, have a long-term condition or lowered immunity — that they could pick up a potentially dangerous virus.

“I recognise this is hard for people who want to visit family members, but I’m sure everyone will agree it would be wrong to risk infecting these patients with a bug which could make them very unwell.”