Norovirus hits Edinburgh school as 164 affected

Oxgangs Primary School, which has been hit by an outbreak of the norovirus bug. Picture: Greg Macvean

Oxgangs Primary School, which has been hit by an outbreak of the norovirus bug. Picture: Greg Macvean

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AN Edinburgh primary has been closed for the rest of the week after a suspected outbreak of the winter vomiting bug norovirus affected at least 150 children.

The city council said that in the last 24 hours 150 children and 14 staff at Oxgangs Primary School have been taken ill with symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhoea.

NHS Lothian’s Health Protection Team have advised that the symptoms indicate viral gastroenteritis - also known as norovirus or winter vomiting disease - which they said is currently circulating in the community.

The decision was taken to close the school due to the large number of people affected, to allow a deep clean to take place.

Andy Gray, Head of Schools and Community Services at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The wellbeing of everyone at the school is paramount so we’ve taken the decision to send pupils and staff home on the advice of NHS Lothian’s Health Protection Team.

“A deep clean will now take place and the school will reopen on Monday. We realise that closing the school presents difficulties for parents but it is an essential course of action to deal with the outbreak.”

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While it spreads rapidly, the disease is usually a short-lived illness from which children recover quickly.

Dr Lorna Willocks, Consultant in Public Health, NHS Lothian said: “Due to the large number of children affected at Oxgangs Primary we have advised the school to close until Monday, in order to try to shorten the duration of the outbreak.

“Norovirus is highly infectious and can spread very easily. You can still be infectious up to 48 hours after your symptoms go, so although you may feel better you may still be passing on the bug to others during this time. So, it is very important that if you have had sickness and diarrhoea that you stay off school or work for at least 48 hours after your symptoms go away.

“The school will undergo a thorough deep clean and we are advising parents to ensure that all members of the family wash their hands frequently especially before meal times and after using the toilet.

“Oxgangs Primary School, the City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian Health Protection Team will continue to monitor the situation.”

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