Meningitis-link germ hits NI school
on 25/06/2012 13:32:16
A further probable case of the meningococcal germ has been discovered at Our Lady and St Patrick primary school.
The children are responding well to treatment, the school principal said.
All 400 pupils are to receive antibiotics this week to reduce the risk of spread of the strain and 50 staff have also been offered the treatment.
Dr Brian Smyth, consultant in health protection at the Public Health Agency in the North, said: "I would like to reassure the parents of the children who attend the school that the likelihood of further cases at the school is low but, in line with standard national advice, as there have been two cases recently at the school, we are providing antibiotics to pupils and staff to further reduce the risk of further infection. The risk to the wider community is extremely low."
Dr Smyth added: "It is important that people can recognise the signs and symptoms of meningococcal infection so that they can be alert and seek medical help immediately if they suspect someone of having the symptoms."
Meningococcus is a bacterium. Infection is uncommon but very serious and can cause meningitis or septicaemia. It may affect anybody but young children and teenagers are most at risk.
Normally the infection is harmless but in some people it overcomes the body's immune system and develops into meningitis, a swelling of the lining that covers the brain.
The risk of other people catching it from a sufferer is low.
There are approximately 60-70 cases of meningococcal infection each year in the North.
Parents have been contacted by the school. Principal Hugh Kelly said: "I am also pleased to report that both of the children are responding well to treatment."