A Doncaster primary school is set to be closed for the rest of the week, following a suspected outbreak of norovirus that has resulted in almost 60 children falling ill.
Bentley High Street Primary School has closed today and will be closed tomorrow to all foundation children as a result of the outbreak.
The South Yorkshire Health Protection Team of Public Health England confirmed it was advising the school, which it believed was ‘affected by an outbreak of suspected norovirus’.
Janis James, Headteacher at Bentley High Street Primary School, which has a total of 429 pupils told The Free Press: “Due to a high number of pupils contracting a sickness bug, school has been closed for deep cleaning.
She continued: “We will be open on Monday 9th February for business as usual.”
Norovirus is the most common cause of infectious gastroenteritis in England and Wales, especially at this time of year.
The illness is often known as ‘winter vomiting disease’ because the number of cases tend to increase during the winter months.
Dr Nachi Arunachalam of Public Health England, said: “We have been working with Doncaster Council to advise the school on appropriate infection control measures and environmental cleaning to prevent the outbreak spreading further.
“Norovirus is generally a mild illness and unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for the illness, apart from letting the illness run its course.
“It is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, especially in the very young or the elderly, and to stay away from school or work until 48 hours after symptoms have ceased.
“In the vast majority of cases, there is no additional benefit to visiting a GP or A&E department.”
Norovirus symptoms include: symptoms are vomiting, which is often sudden and ‘projectile’, diarrhoea and sometimes both.
Some people may also experience a raised temperature, headaches and aching limbs.
A parent of a Bentley High Street Primary school pupil, who did not want to be named, told The Star: “Fifty nine children have fallen ill with what is suspected to be norovirus.”
“When we heard the nursery was closed we knew something was wrong.
They continued: “I got a text saying you need to pick up your child in 40 minutes.
“Luckily I was able to sort something out, but what about working parents?
“It’s completely unacceptable.” Norovirus affects people of all ages. It is generally short-lived and most people make a full recovery within one to two days, usually without treatment.
Public Health England has issued the following advice for anyone who may be affected by norovirus-type symptoms:
• Stay away from school or work until 48 hours after symptoms have ceased
• Follow good hygiene measures, including thorough hand-washing, particularly after visiting the toilet.
• Drink plenty of fluids and rest to prevent dehydration.
• Make sure that any surface contaminated by vomit or faeces is thoroughly disinfected after an episode of illness
• If symptoms worsen or persist for more than 48 hours, contact your family doctor or take advice from NHS 111.
• Delay any visits to hospitals, care or nursing homes or schools until fully recovered and don’t visit people who are especially vulnerable to infection, such as elderly relatives.
• If visiting someone in hospital, even if you are well, obey the signs for hand washing before entering and after leaving wards.