SOUTHAMPTON General Hospital has had an outbreak of an illness which means wards and bays have been closed.

The hospital, has had an outbreak of norovirus, meaning they have bays closed on six wards, and are warning patients to not come to the hospital unless they have been clear of symptoms for 72 hours.

A spokesperson for Southampton General Hospital said: "The situation has improved over the last week and we now have bays closed on six wards."

Norovirus, also called the "winter vomiting bug", is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. It can be very unpleasant, but usually goes away in about 2 days.

The University Hospital Southampton website states: "The Trust has been under sustained pressure for the past week and currently has a large number of beds closed to new admissions due to norovirus.

"This is affecting the flow of patients out of the emergency department and into the appropriate locations.

"We would like to reassure patients that we are taking a number of steps to address current capacity issues.

"Visitors are encouraged to wash hands carefully with soap and water both before and after visiting a clinical ward area."