HEALTH chiefs have shut six wards at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to visitors after an outbreak of norovirus.
Almost 100 people have been treated with the illness, known as the winter vomiting bug, at the hospital since the start of February.
Wards 101, 102, 103, 201, 202, 207 are currently closed to visitors, with relatives of patients being treated there being contacted by staff.
Dr Kate Templeton, chair of the problem assessment group and consultant virologist at NHS Lothian, said: “There are a number of patients affected by norovirus within six wards at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
“We have taken the decision to temporarily restrict visitors within these wards in a bid to prevent the further spread of the infection.
“By restricting the number of visitors it is hoped that this will reduce the number of people who are exposed to norovirus and therefore shorten the duration of the outbreak.”
Prof Alison McCallum, director of public health and health policy, said: “We recently carried out a similar temporary restriction to visitors at Liberton Hospital and this proved effective in helping to prevent the further spread of the virus on the site.
“Our priority is always patient, public and staff safety. While we understand that this temporary visiting restriction may cause some frustration, this measure will allow us to help prevent further spread of the infection and ensure safe patient care.
“We understand that there may be extenuating circumstances where members of the public need to visit loved ones, such as if they are seriously ill. If this is the case, relatives or friends are asked to call ahead to the ward to arrange visiting.
“We would ask the public for their co-operation at this time. Clinical and nursing staff are working very hard to minimise any distress and discomfort to patients whilst there is norovirus in the wards.”