A "large number" of people have been struck down with the Norovirus at a UK hospital leading to visitors only being allowed in "exceptional circumstances".

Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals in Chertsey, Surrey, has said it will only allow visitors to patients at the end of their life, patients in intensive care, babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, children in paediatrics and partners to the maternity unit.

Anyone with symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting has also been warned to stay away from the hospital until they've been clear of them for 48 hours.

One person posted about the outbreak on Facebook, saying: "We are here and it's a bit chaotic. Hope they get it under control soon."

Another said: "Please if anyone has any symptoms please don't visit Millie.

"The Norovirus although unpleasant (I know I've had it) is life threatening to people who have serious health issues."

Visiting has been restricted at the hospital because of the winter vomiting bug

In a statement Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals said: "Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals currently has a large number of patients with Norovirus.

"In order to safeguard patients and prevent spread of the virus to visitors we have taken the difficult decision to restrict visiting to all inpatient areas.

"Inpatient visiting will be restricted to exceptional circumstances. Exceptions include visitors to patients at the end of their life, patients in intensive care, babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, children in paediatrics and partners to the maternity unit.

"In these incidences we ask that only two visitors attend at any time and no children or babies attend."

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 two days.

The main symptoms of norovirus are:

You may also have:

The symptoms start suddenly within one to two days of being infected.

You can usually treat yourself or your child at home.

You should start to feel better in two to three days.

The hospital has also asked anyone who does visit the hospital to take precautions to prevent the spread of the vomiting bug further.

"In order to bring the maximum opportunity to reduce transmission of Norovirus we are also taking measures to minimise footfall around the Trust and asking everyone to use the main entrance to St Peter’s Hospital where possible.

"On entrance to the hospital building members of the public will be directed to hand washing facilities and provided with the necessary advice and guidance.

The effects of the Norovirus can be very unpleasant

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"Handwashing with soap and water is the best measure of infection control since alcohol gel is not effective against Norovirus.

"If you’ve had symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting you should stay away from hospital until you’ve been clear of your symptoms for 48 hours.

"This includes outpatients – if you’ve had symptoms please call and rearrange your appointment which we will rearrange as quickly as possible. For Ashford 01784 884584 and for St Peter’s call 01932 723428."

The hospital has also set up a hotline via the Patient Advice and Liaison Service, manned from 8am to 8pm, on 01932 723553 to provide advice and guidance about visiting and for those seeking updates on their loved ones who are inpatients.