Pupils in hospital with swine flu

A HEADTEACHER has urged parents not to panic after it was confirmed that two pupils at his school are in hospital with swine flu.

Two youngsters from Stranton Primary School, in Southburn Terrace, Hartlepool, were reported as having contracted swine flu over the weekend and have had hospital treatment.

Headteacher Neil Nottingham took immediate advice from the Health Protection Agency and was advised to keep the school open as normal as the virus was "already widespread within the community".

Mr Nottingham, who sent a letter home to parents last night as well as posting a message on the school's website, has spoken with the parents of the sick pupils and has been assured they are on the road to recovery.

Mr Nottingham said: "I understand the concerns of parents, but I would like to reassure them that we have taken advice from the health authority and are continuing to monitor the situation in school this week.

"I have spoken to the parents of both of our pupils and I am pleased to report they are making a speedy recovery.

"We look forward to seeing them back in school soon."

In the letter to parents, a statement read: "In line with the current treatment only policy in the UK, school closures and the distribution of antiviral medicines for prevention are no longer normally recommended due to the virus being widespread within the community.

"This means that people are likely to be repeatedly exposed to the virus in their every day lives so such precautions would now be ineffective.

"The most important advice we have been given is that parents of children who have signs and symptoms of swine flu are asked to keep their children away from school until they have recovered and are free of symptoms.

"If children are prescribed antiviral drugs for treatment, they should also stay at home until they have finished the course.

"This is to avoid spreading the infection as much as possible."

IF anyone is concerned about flu-like symptoms they should phone their GP or NHS Direct on 0845 4647 for further advice.

Further information is also available online on www.nhs.uk, or through the Swine Flu information line on 0800 1 513 513. Details on the virus are also on the Health Protection Agency's website at www.hpa.org.uk/swineflu.

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