Northern Ireland

Meningitis case at Our Lady and St Patrick PS in Downpatrick

A primary school child has meningitis and a second pupil at the same County Down school is being treated as another "probable case" of the infection.

The children both attend Our Lady and St Patrick primary school in Downpatrick and the Public Health Agency (PHA) is investigating.

All pupils and staff at the school have been offered antibiotics as a "precautionary measure" the PHA said.

The school principal said both children were "responding well" to treatment.

Parents of the 400 children who attend the primary have been contacted about the infection.

Representatives from the PHA and the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust (SEHSCT) will be at the school on Monday to talk to parents while the antibiotics are being dispensed.

'Reassured'

Mr Hugh Kelly, principal of Our Lady and St Patrick primary, said the school was cooperating with the trust and the PHA.

He urged parents to take the opportunity to speak to the medical professionals at the school so they could be reassured.

Mr Kelly added: "I am also pleased to report that both of the children are responding well to treatment."

Dr Brian Smyth, consultant in health protection at the PHA, said: "I would like to reassure the parents of the children who attend the school that the likelihood of further cases at the school is low but, in line with standard national advice, as there have been two cases recently at the school, we are providing antibiotics to pupils and staff to further reduce the risk of further infection.

"The risk to the wider community is extremely low," Dr Smyth said.

The PHA said there are approximately 60-70 cases of meningococcal meningitis each year in Northern Ireland.

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