Health probe as 40 pupils fall ill at Gosport school

VIRUS WOE Peel Common Infants School in Gosport
VIRUS WOE Peel Common Infants School in Gosport
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  • Environmental health officer visits school after sickness bug spreads
  • Around 40 children have been off sick with illness
  • School is reassured it is not linked to chicks which were recently hatched and handled at the school
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DOZENS of pupils have fallen ill with a mystery bug at a Gosport school.

Around 40 pupils at Peel Common Infants have been off sick in the past fortnight with the virus.

Since the Easter holidays children have been feeling poorly with the bug and as a precaution, we did get in touch with Public Health England and an environmental health officer at Gosport Borough Council visited the school

Headteacher Lesley Spicer

Neighbouring school Peel Common Junior School confirmed it too had had children off sick since the Easter holidays.

While the infants is taking steps to try and stop the spread of the bug, headteacher Lesley Spicer has dismissed any concerns that it might have come from chicks that recently hatched and have been handled by pupils at the school.

She said environmental health officers from Gosport Borough Council had been in and ruled out the baby birds as the cause.

‘Children have been off school with a nasty bug but we have been reassured it is not because of the chicks we hatched,’ she said. ‘Pupils started feeling ill before the chicks were hatched. That was part of a project for them to learn about the life-cycle of hens.

‘Since the Easter holidays, children have been feeling poorly with the bug and as a precaution, we did get in touch with Public Health England and an environmental health officer at Gosport Borough Council visited the school.

‘But both the officer and Public Health England said the illness and the chicks are unlikely to be linked.

‘They said we followed the right procedures when the children handled the chicks and when they washed their hands after.

‘It is just unfortunate that the illness coincided with the chicks being hatched which the children loved seeing.’

To stop the spread of the bugs, parents whose children are affected are being asked to keep the child off school until 48 hours after the sickness has passed.

Ms Spicer added: ‘We don’t want any more children to be affected by the illness, which seems to be similar to the norovirus so we are checking they are washing their hands properly.

‘We’re also advising parents to keep their children off sick a couple of days until after the bug has gone.

‘We hope the children who are ill feel better soon.’

But some parents said they were unaware of the illness.

One parent, who didn’t want to be named, has a son in Year 1.

She said: ‘I wasn’t aware that there was a sickness bug going around the school. It hasn’t been mentioned to me by anyone at the school and I am not sure if other parents have been made aware. But I don’t know any child that has been affected by it.’