An outbreak of norovirus has closed a ward at the north’s flagship hospital.
Two patients on ward 6C at Raigmore Hospital have tested positive for the highly contagious bug, while two more have shown symptoms.
NHS Highland said “several members” of staff had also been affected by signs of norovirus at the Inverness facility.
The cardiac ward has been closed to new admissions since late on Thursday afternoon, with visitors also urged to stay away unless it is an emergency.
The virus, which causes diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, can spread in the air where someone has had diarrhoea or has vomited, and is extremely difficult to contain.
It may also spread by touching surfaces contaminated by the vomit or diarrhoea.
Dr Chin Lim, consultant microbiologist for NHS Highland, said: “As well as restricting visiting to the affected ward we are asking people not to come to the hospital to visit if they have had any vomiting or diarrhoea within the previous 48 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.”
There is no specific treatment for a norovirus infection and it is not usually necessary to seek medical help.
NHS Highland say that the best course of action is to stay at home, take paracetamol to relieve fever symptoms and to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
People who suspect they have the bug should also follow strict hand-washing techniques to prevent the spread of the virus.
A number of wards have been closed at Raigmore this year because of cases of norovirus.
The health board took the unprecedented step of closing the entire hospital to visitors in April this year for nearly a week after more than 30 patients showed signs of the winter vomiting virus.
At the time NHS Highland said that norovirus was “rife in the community” and was being spread around the hospital by visitors.