Rock Ferry School closed amid norovirus outbreak

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Rock Ferry Primary SchoolImage source, Google
Image caption,
The Birkenhead school said it would remain closed until after the half term holidays

A school has closed after about 100 pupils and staff were taken ill with what is believed to be the norovirus winter vomiting bug.

Rock Ferry Primary School in Wirral, Merseyside, was closed on Wednesday after children and staff began to suffer sickness and diarrhoea,

Pupils were "falling left, right and centre", a parent told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The Birkenhead school plans to reopen after half term on 4 November.

Head teacher Sara Radley said: "The school responded swiftly and decisively, having regard to advice and support from a range of specialists, to close the school due to an exceptionally high number of pupils and a number of staff reporting symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea.

"The school remains in regular contact with the local authority and Public Health England, and is continuing to take action in line with agreed infection control protocols."

Public Health England said health protection colleagues were working with the school to give advice and support.

"Anyone that has diarrhoea and vomiting should stay away from work or school until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours," a spokesperson said.

"Everyone should be encouraged to practice good hand hygiene and wash hands thoroughly and regularly at all times, but particularly after using the toilet and before eating."

What is norovirus?

Sometimes known as "winter vomiting viruses" noroviruses are the most common cause of stomach bugs in the UK, affecting all ages.

It is estimated that between 600,000 and a million people in the UK become infected each year.

About 12 to 48 hours after becoming infected, the virus causes sudden onset of nausea followed by vomiting and diarrhoea.

The illness is not generally dangerous and most people make a full recovery within one to two days.

One parent, who preferred not to be named, said: "Never in my life have I known a school to shut because of the level of kids being sick.

"Over 100 kids never made it to school and staff were falling left right and centre.

"Oh well early half term for the kids it is."

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