THE number of winter vomiting bug cases has soared in a year, health officials have said.

During the first 44 weeks of 2012, there were 2016 lab reports of norovirus received by Health Protection Scotland (HPS), up 631 (46%) on the 1385 received in the same period last year.

It is estimated that for every laboratory case there are 290 more in the community, with an estimated 180,000 extra cases so far this year.

Chief medical officer Sir Harry Burns said: "We remain vigilant and ready to cope."