Sheffield pupil taken ill with suspected meningitis

Parkwood Academy.
Parkwood Academy.
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A Sheffield school has warned parents after a pupil was taken ill with a suspected case of meningitis.

Parkwood Academy principal Vicky Simcock confirmed the news on the school's website and social media channels yesterday.

She said: "I have been informed that there is a child from Parkwood receiving treatment for bacterial meningitis.

"Please read the letter/advice on our website received from Public Health England."

The school said the principal was on a training course today and was unavailable to speak.

It is understood pupils have not been sent home from school, although some parents have chosen to take their children out of class.

The letter from Public Health England says the meningococcal infection is rare and 'does not spread easily from person to person'.

It adds: "The germ that causes meningococcal disease is passed from person to person in droplets from the mouth and nose.

"However, the germ is very fragile, and dies rapidly outside the body. This means that very close contact (e.g. mouth kissing) is necessary before there is a risk of becoming infected.

"As the disease is not very infectious, it is unlikely that any other children will be affected. There is no need for children to stay away from classes, or for the school to close."

The letter urges parents to contact their doctor if their child becomes ill.

The symptoms of meningococcal infection are:

- Cold hands and feet

- Pale or mottled skin

- Muscle pains especially in the legs

- Headache

- Fever

- Drowsiness or confusion

- Turning head away from bright light (photophobia)

- Stiff neck

- Vomiting

- A fine rash like pinpricks which does not disappear when pressed with a glass

Not all these symptoms need to be present, but children with meningococcal disease can become seriously ill very quickly.

The letter adds: "If your child becomes ill, with headache and fever, we recommend that they are not left unsupervised for long periods, in case their condition gets worse."

Visit www.meningitisnow.org.