A FURTHER ward has been closed to norovirus as a precaution at Raigmore hospital in Inverness and a ban on visitors remains in place.
A total of four wards are now closed after a patient developed symptoms of norovirus on ward 6C with one bay closed, whilst a specialist team monitoring the situation waits for sample results.
Wards 7C, 2C and 2A remain closed to new admissions with 55 patients affected and consultants have stressed that visitors must stay away to try and prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus.
Doctor Adam Brown, consultant microbiologist, said the hospital must remain vigilant.
"We are being cautious by suspending visiting to 6C but we know norovirus is in the community and would rather take this precaution while we assess the situation," he said.
"Again we would stress that people do not come to hospital to visit if they have, or live with someone who has had any vomiting or diarrhoea within the previous 72 hours.
"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. Please do not visit any of the affected wards unless by prior arrangement with the nurse in charge."
People suffering with symptoms which include vomiting and diarrhoea have been told to stay at home and drink plenty of water and be clear of symptoms for 72 hours before visiting a hospital - Including for appointments. Thorough hand washing has also been advised.