Meningitis scare at Clevedon school

A PUPIL from Clevedon Community School has been taken ill with suspected meningococcal meningitis.

A PUPIL from Clevedon Community School has been taken ill with suspected meningococcal meningitis.

The 14-year-old boy was rushed to the Bristol Children's Hospital where he is currently being treated.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has sent letters to the 1,400 students at the school in Valley Road warning parents to be on the look out for symptoms of the disease.

Family members and a small number of youngsters in the same class as the pupil are also taking antibiotics to reduce the risk of them developing the disease.

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HPA spokesman, Laurence Knight, said: "We've been working closely with Clevedon Community School after a child was admitted to hospital with suspected meningitis.

"We've sent a letter to all the parents of children at the school advising them that there's no need for them to make nay changes to the school routine and there's no need for their children to be kept at home.

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"It is unusual to get any second cases of meningococcal disease at a school, but nevertheless it is still good to be aware of the signs and symptoms so we've provided parents with information from the Meningitis Trust with what to look out for.

"The likelihood here is that the child has a strain of meningitis that's bacterial and is not one that's covered by the vaccine.

"We've been working with the school and family to identify anybody who had close contact with the child so they can be given preventative antibiotics to reduce the risk any further."

The disease is spread through the nose and throat and is often picked up when people work or live closely together.

Symptoms include a fever, chills, a headache, vomiting, a stiff neck, a rash and confusion.

North Somerset Council spokesman, Zoe Briffitt, said: "The school is working closely with the Health Protection Agency and is keeping in close contact with the student's family. Pupils and staff have sent cards and good wishes."

Cllr Jeremy Blatchford, North Somerset Council's executive member for children and young people's services, advised parents not to panic and seek help if necessary.

He said: "I would like to reassure parents and urge them not to worry or to take their children out of school unnecessarily.

"Anyone who is concerned their child is unwell should seek medical advice immediately.

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