01/02/2013 12:47 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Norovirus Outbreak At Royal Columbian Hospital Infects 18

RCH Foundation

An outbreak of the highly contagious norovirus forced the quarantine of three wards at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C.

The outbreak began on Dec. 28 and has hit 12 patients and six staff members, reported The Province.

Tasleem Juma, who speaks for Fraser Health, said that one of the three wards that had to be quarantined re-opened on Tuesday, reported The Vancouver Sun.

Norovirus is most commonly spread through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include a sudden onset of nausea, vomiting and watery diarrhea that lasts one to three days.

Juma told News 1130 that the hospital to taking measures to enhance cleaning and asking staff and visitors to be extra vigilant in washing their hands to stop the spread of the virus.

As long as there are no new cases in the next 72 hours, then the quarantine will be lifted, she added.

Also on HuffPost

Kinds Of Food Poisoning You Should Know About (And Avoid)