Marchwood Junior School shut as norovirus bug strikes pupils and staff

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Marchwood Junior School

AN OUTBREAK of norovirus caused Marchwood Junior School to close on Monday for specialist deep cleaning to take place.

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More than 45 children and staff became unwell on Friday with the bug, which causes extreme vomiting and diarrhoea.

After the school reopened on Tuesday, headteacher Laurie Anderson wrote on its website: “The school has had an intensive clean since Friday because of the number of children who were physically unwell in the school building.

“However, if your child has been unwell, please ensure they do not return to school until at least 48 hours after the last time of being sick. It is likely they will make other children unwell if they return to school too early.”

Norovirus is one of the most frequent cause of infectious gastroenteritis in England and Wales and it is also known as the ‘winter vomiting disease’. It has been estimated that it affects approximately one million people in the UK every year.

The symptoms usually last from 12 to 60 hours and will start with the sudden onset of nausea followed by projectile vomiting and diarrhoea.

Public Health England South East (PHE SE) confirmed it had been supporting the school and the local authority by providing advice on hygiene and infection control to help prevent the illness spreading.

Jill Morris, a consultant in communicable diseases, said: “To reduce the possibility of further onward infection we have provided appropriate advice to the school, who have undertaken a deep clean of the premises, and provided information and advice to people with symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting.”

She added: “As always in episodes of gastrointestinal illness, the advice is to pay particular attention to good hygiene. It is vital to wash hands thoroughly using liquid soap and warm running water after using the toilet, before and after handling food and after contact with any animals and pets.

“It is also important to maintain food preparation practices to avoid infections. All meat should be thoroughly cooked and fruit and salad items should be washed before eating. Anyone who is concerned about vomiting and diarrhoea symptoms should phone NHS 111 or their GP for advice.”

There is no treatment for the virus but it is important to keep hydrated to combat the loss of fluids. Most people will recover within a few days and there are no long-term effects.

Advice from PHE SE also includes staying away from work, school or college until you have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours and not to handle or prepare food for others until this timeframe has passed.

Hands should be washed thoroughly and regularly at all times, but particularly after toilet visits and before eating, and any surface that is contaminated by vomit or faeces should be promptly and thoroughly disinfected.

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