Norovirus cases increase across Scotland

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) has today announced that there has been an increase in levels of norovirus across Scotland. Although it is present all year round, norovirus becomes more common in the winter when people stay indoors for longer and in larger groups.

Latest figures show that NHS Boards are experiencing increased norovirus activity with health professionals across NHSScotland working to reduce the likelihood of outbreaks arising.

Lisa Ritchie, Infection Control Nurse Consultant at HPS (part of NHS National Services Scotland), said:

“Norovirus is a highly infectious stomach bug that causes outbreaks in the community, health and care settings. It is therefore important that everyone plays their part in reducing the risk of outbreaks.

“If you are unfortunate enough to get norovirus, the best course of action is to stay at home until at least 48 hours have gone by without any symptoms.

Helping reduce the risk of norovirus outbreaks

Lisa continued:

“To help reduce the risk of outbreaks in hospitals and protect patients/residents, please do not visit hospitals and care homes if you are feeling unwell and until at least 48 hours have passed without any symptoms.

“You can’t build up immunity to norovirus but there are some things you can do to protect yourself and others. The most important of these is washing your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet.”

HPS continues to monitor the situation and will support NHS Boards as required.

Media enquiries

If you’ve got any further questions about norovirus, contact:

Stakeholder Relations Team
Health Protection Scotland
Meridian Court
5 Cadogan Street
Glasgow G2 6QE

  • Phone: 0141 433 5880
  • Email:

Learn more about norovirus

For more details of the latest situation, see Health Protection Scotland’s weekly norovirus report on the HPS website.

Stay at Home campaign materials including digital social media toolkit can be found on the NHS Inform website. 

Further information on norovirus including top tips for preventing infection can be found on the HPS website. 

Norovirus – the facts

  • Norovirus occurs all year round in the community and is unrelated to hospital cleanliness.
  • There is no vaccine to protect against norovirus.
  • The virus continually changes and people don’t develop lasting immunity, so you can catch it more than once.
  • Noroviruses can survive for days on any surface – including exposed food and wrapped food items.

Advice to the public

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus which causes vomiting and/or diarrhoea. The first sign of norovirus is usually a sudden sick feeling, followed by forceful vomiting and watery diarrhoea.

Symptoms usually last a couple of days, although this can be longer in elderly people.

People are most likely to spread infection when they have symptoms and for up to 48 hours after symptoms have gone.

If you’ve got norovirus

There is no specific cure for norovirus – you just need to let it run its course (usually 2 to 3 days).

To help ease your symptoms and stop the virus spreading:

  • Stay at home and avoid direct contact with people until at least 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped
  • Keep your hands clean. Good hand hygiene is key to stopping the onward spread of infection
  • Drink plenty of liquid, water is best. This will replace the fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Eat foods that are easy to digest

If your symptoms last longer than a few days or you are worried about dehydration, call NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88.

Helping prevent the spread of norovirus

Norovirus can’t always be avoided, but you can help to prevent it spreading:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet
  • Stay at home, avoid cooking for others, and don’t visit hospitals or care homes until at least 48 hours after your symptoms have gone - you may still be infectious
  • Don’t share towels, flannels and toothbrushes
  • Keep household surfaces clean
  • Rinse fruit and vegetables well before eating them

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