A ward at Invergordon’s County Community Hospital has closed to admissions following an outbreak of what is suspected to be norovirus.
Restricted visiting has also bee put in place at the inpatient ward while staff deal with several cases of diarrhoea and vomiting.
The ward, which was closed on Wednesday, currently has three patients affected. A small number of staff are also affected, they are recovering at home.
Testing has not yet been done but NHS Highland says it is likely that the symptoms are caused by norovirus.
The virus, which causes diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, spreads in the air where someone has had diarrhoea or vomited and is extremely difficult to contain.
Dr Jonty Mills, Acting Consultant Microbiologist for NHS Highland, said: “We know that norovirus is out there in the community and it is likely it has been brought into our hospitals.
“As well as restricting visiting to the affected ward we are also asking people not to come to the hospitals to visit if they have had any vomiting or diarrhoea within the previous 48hrs. By doing this we will be able to limit the spread as much as possible.
“Hospital staff will of course be very happy to talk to visitors on the phone so they can get updates on how their relatives are.”
There is no specific treatment for a norovirus infection and it is not usually necessary to visit a doctor.
The best course of action is to stay at home, take paracetamol to relieve symptoms of any fever and to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. People should also adhere to strict hand washing techniques to reduce the spread of the virus.