Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been taken to hospital after suffering a minor stroke, local media have reported.

He lost consciousness before being taken to hospital, but has since regained consciousness, reports say. He was taken to Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel's Channel 2 TV station reported on Sunday night.

The portly 77-year-old prime minister is not known to have had serious health problems in recent years. The hospital said his life was not in danger and that he was undergoing unspecified tests.

The Prime Minister's office said he had complained of feeling unwell before he was taken to hospital. A security cordon was reportedly placed around the hospital before he arrived.

The veteran Israeli politician, who has been prime minister since 2001, recently announced he was leaving the right-wing Likud party he helped found. He has drawn supporters from both right and left to join his new party, Kadima (Forward).

Polls suggest Kadima will come out on top in new elections scheduled for March.