THE winter vomiting bug affected around one in every five people in Scotland last year, new figures have revealed.
Exactly 2824 cases of norovirus were confirmed in the first 51 weeks of 2012, according to Health Protection Scotland (HPS).
But experts believe that for every confirmed case there could be between 239 and 346 unrecorded cases.
The HPS figure suggests 813,312 people could have been hit by norovirus in Scotland, around 15 per cent of the population.
Nausea followed by vomiting and diarrhoea are the main symptoms of norovirus.
Scotland’s chief medical officer, Sir Harry Burn,s added: “Rates of norovirus fluctuate from year to year with occasional spikes.
“The Scottish Government and health boards monitor norovirus outbreaks closely throughout the year, taking every step to minimise its impact on people who use and work in our hospitals.
“There are simple steps that everyone can take to prevent the spread of the virus, including washing your hands properly.”