A NATIONAL outbreak of winter vomiting bug the Norovirus has prompted Barnsley health experts to issue guidance for locals.

Barnsley Hospital has reported seeing a slight increase in cases but suggests people stay at home.

Denise Potter, assistant director of infection control, said: “The hospital has seen a slight increase in cases of diarrhoea, many of which have been brought in from outside of the hospital, but the hospital is coping well and no wards have been closed as a result of it.

“However we need the support of the general public and the message is simple - please don’t visit the hospital if you have symptoms, or have had symptoms within the last 48 hours, of cold, flu, vomiting or diarrhoea.”

Sharon Stoltz, head of Public Health for Barnsley, said norovirus is normally a short lived illness.

She added: "Anyone who is concerned should call either NHS Direct or their local GP Practice for advice. Please avoid attending A&E as this could spread the illness to vulnerable people and healthcare workers."

The Health Protection Agency said it is impossible to know how many people are affected locally as the illness is not a notifiable disease.

It comes after national statistics revealed an 83 per cent increase in the number of people infected with the illness when compared to last year.