THREE wards at Wrexham Maelor Hospital have been closed to new admissions following the outbreak of a vomiting bug.
Eight patients are displaying symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting.
It comes after the Health Protection Agency (HPA) revealed cases of the norovirus are at a five-year high across the UK – with more than two-thirds as many people struck down this year as during the same period in 2011.
A spokesman for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) said: “Anyone who has had diarrhoea or vomiting in the last 48 hours should not come into hospital to visit family or friends until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have cleared up.
“Anyone who would like to visit a ward are urged to use the anti-bacterial handwash before entering.
“We also advise no more than two visitors to each bed.
“Parents should not bring young children and babies onto the wards.
“We would like to remind people who are experiencing symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting who have a hospital appointment or admission, that they should ring the ward or outpatient clinic first for advice.”
It is not the first time this year patients at the Maelor have been struck down by the bug.
In July a total of 11 wards were affected by norovirus – at its height, 35 patients were suspected to be suffering from it.
There have been 2,630 confirmed reports of norovirus in the UK so far this season, but for every reported case, there are likely to be a further 288 unreported sufferers.
Among those affected are passengers on board a cruise liner in the Baltic, who have been confined to their rooms and warned not to leave the ship.
It is understood that 300 of the 1,843 passengers on the Oriana were affected by the highly contagious bug, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea.
HPA norovirus expert John Harris said: “People should be vigilant in their hygiene and we would like to remind anyone who has typical symptoms suggestive of norovirus infection to avoid visiting friends or relatives in hospital or care homes.
“Having a norovirus infection is very unpleasant but it is short-lived and most people will fully recover in a couple of days.
“Make sure that you or anyone you are caring for takes plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
“Over-the-counter medicines can also be useful in reducing headaches and other aches and pains.”