Virus hits Berry Lane school

Hygiene: Norovirus is commonly spread by touch
Hygiene: Norovirus is commonly spread by touch
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An outbreak of norovirus closed a Longridge primary school for a day last week.

The virus - also known as the winter vomiting bug - affected 51 pupils and seven staff at the CE Primary School on Berry Lane.

We decided that the most effective action would be to close the school last Friday for a deep clean, as a precautionary measure

After school finished last Thursday, head Janet Cooper closed the premises the next day. In a statement yesterday she said: “I can confirm that we had a suspected outbreak of a viral gastroenteritis, more usually known as norovirus, at the school last week which affected both pupils and staff. We were vigilant about this and followed all the usual procedures, including contacting Public Health England.

“We decided that the most effective action would be to close the school last Friday for a deep clean, as a precautionary measure.

“We did all the right things to combat any further spread of the suspected norovirus with the result that we reopened and school life returned to normal on Monday.

“Longridge C of E Primary School currently has two pupils and one member of staff suffering from suspected norovirus

“No pupil or member of staff should return to the school until 48 hours after the last symptoms are experienced.”

The infection prevented the Junior Choir from opening one of the parish’s major fundraisers last Saturday, when despite a marked drop in numbers through the door at the St Paul’s Church venue, the annual SDpring Fair raised £3,000 for church funds.

Announcing the result at the morning service on Sunday, Vicar the Rev David Anderson announced that, to prevent further infection or spread of the novovirus, the chalice would not be used for communion nor the traditional ‘peace’ handshake done.

It only takes a small number of viruses to cause infection, so even microscopic amounts of faeces or fluids can be contagious.

An infected person with vomiting or diarrhoea can contaminate their environment directly, or they may indirectly spread virus particles through aerosolized droplets when vomiting. However, the main route is by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus.

Contamination may also occur in food and/or in water, which has led to infection spreading widely in restaurants or aboard cruise ships. And outbreaks in school systems occur regularly, sometimes spreading widely,

Norovirus causes upset stomach or gastroenteritis, main symptoms are diarrhoea and vomiting, some have fever, headache, stomach cramps or aching limbs and, although unpleasant, the illness is generally mild.