It is the time of year when the norovirus rears its ugly head.

The illness typically strikes in the winter where people are living in close quarters and it has struck at two Island hospitals in including Duncan and Port Alberni.

Meribeth Burton, with Island Health, said the illness is contained to the second floor of the Cowichan District Hospital.

Burton says ten patients have been impacted, seven are confirmed cases, three are unconfirmed and three staff have called in with norovirus-like symptoms

There is no treatment for the norovirus except to let it run its course, however, Island Health is asking visitors to the hospital to practice good hygiene and to keep their visits short.

Norovirus symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.

Burton says additional cleaning staff has been brought in in an effort to keep the outbreak under control.