Youngster struck by meningitis at Hartlepool school

Kingsley Primary School, Hartlepool.
Kingsley Primary School, Hartlepool.

A YOUNGSTER at a Hartlepool School has been struck down with potentially-fatal bug meningitis.

The child, in the nursery class at Kingsley Primary School, in Taybrooke Avenue, Hartlepool, took ill and was diagnosed as suffering with suspected meningococcal meningitis.

The youngster was treated for the illness in hospital but has fortunately now been released and is recovering at home.

Family members of the infected child have been offered anti-biotics as a precaution to help prvent them from potentially falling ill.

Health and education chiefs have issued a warning letter to parents at the school to keep a look-out for signs and symptoms of the illness which they insist does not spread easily.

Alison Darby, headteacher of Kingsley Primary School, said: “I can confirm that a child from our school nursery has been diagnosed with suspected meningococcal meningitis.

“To the relief of everyone in the school, the child has been discharged from hospital and is now recovering at home.

“The school has liaised closely with the relevant health agencies and issued general advice about meningitis to all parents.”

Paul Davison, of the Public Health England North East Centre, said: “Meningococcal bacteria do not spread easily.

“Only people who have had prolonged, close contact with the person are at a slightly increased risk of becoming unwell.

“Household contacts of the child have already been identified and offered antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

“It is not necessary for any pupils or staff at the school to be given antibiotics.”

Parents have been told that there is no reason to make any change in the school routine and no reason for children to be kept at home.

The germ which causes the illness lives naturally in the back of the throat and spreads between people in droplets from the mouth and nose. Many people carry the germ in their throats without becoming unwell.

Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis/blood poisoning include:

l High temperature;

l Bruising rash;

l Vomiting;

l Rapid breathing;

l Severe headache;

l Cold hands and feet;

l Stiff neck;

l Joint or muscle pain;

l Dislike of bright light;

l Drowsiness or confusion.

Not all of these signs may show at once, but someone with this illness will become very ill. The illness may progress over one or two days, but it can develop very rapidly, sometimes in a matter of hours.

The early signs can also be similar to a bad dose of flu.