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Two Co Armagh schoolchildren admitted to hospital with meningococcal infection

Craigavon Area Hospital

Two children at a Portadown primary school have been admitted to hospital with a meningococcal infection.

The children, who attend the Birches Primary School, are currently on a course of antibiotics, as are other pupils and staff.

A meningococcal infection can cause meningitis or septicaemia.

Upper Bann DUP MLA Jonathan Buckley has called it an “alarming” development.

“Firstly I want to offer my praise for the parents, principal and staff for the model way in which they dealt with this incident with care, compassion and professionalism.”

Mr Buckley added: “Pupils and staff at the Birches Primary School have received antibiotic treatment.

“However, the Public Health Agency have advised that this is just a precautionary measure and that the risk to the public is extremely low.

“Understandably there is a lot of anxiety among parents.

“Given the widespread sickness filtering around local schools currently, I would advise parents to be vigilant, attentive and inform themselves of the symptoms of meningococcal infection.”

These are the signs you need to look out for:

Early symptoms of the disease can include:

– a high temperature (fever) over 37.5C (99.5F)
– being sick
– a headache
– a blotchy rash that does not fade when a glass is rolled over it (this will not always develop)
– a stiff neck
– a dislike of bright lights
– drowsiness or unresponsiveness
– seizures (fits)
– Babies with meningococcal disease tend to be irritable when picked up and have a high pitched cry, stiff body and jerking movements.

“Should anyone develop any of these you should contact their GP or local emergency department immediately,” the Public Health Agency said.

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