Stomach bug outbreak 'worst for five years'

GPs should advise patients struck down by a stomach bug that is sweeping across England not to go back to work, according to the RCGP.

Professor Steve Field
Professor Steve Field

More than 100,000 people a week are estimated to be catching the norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, according to data from the Health Protection Agency.

So far this winter around 2 million people have become ill with the stomach bug. This is the highest number of cases of the bug since 2002.

Professor Steve Field, chairman of the RCGP, said: ‘We have seen an increase in the number of patients attending surgeries and A&E with this bug this winter. GPs should encourage patients to manage the condition at home rather than visiting their GP.’

He added: ‘Anyone with the bug should stay away from work or school for 48 hours while the bug remains contagious.’

Patients with the bug should stay at home, take paracetamol, drink plenty of fluids and call their GP for advice if required, said Professor Field.

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