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Primary school closes due to virus outbreak 11 September 2008

RUSHEN Primary School will be closed tomorrow (Friday) due to a wide-scale outbreak of the norovirus.

The virus has affected 70 of the 284 pupils and five of the 14 staff at the school in Church Road, Port St Mary. Years one and two are the most badly affected but pupils from other years are affected too.

The Minister for Education, Anne Craine MHK, is acting on the advice of the Director of Public Health in closing the school to lower the incidence of transmission and to allow extra cleaning to take place.

The school will reopen on Monday but parents are advised not to send their children to school if they are suffering any of the symptoms of the virus or until 48 hours after symptoms have ceased.

The symptoms of norovirus infection begin around 12 to 48 hours after a person becomes infected, explained a spokesman for the Public Health Directorate. The illness is self-limiting and the symptoms last for 12 to 60 hours.

They start with the sudden onset of nausea followed by projectile vomiting and watery diarrhoea. Some people may have a raised temperature, headaches and aching limbs.

Most people make a full recovery within one to two days. However, occasionally people (usually the very young or elderly) may become very dehydrated and require hospital treatment. Small regular sips of water may help prevent dehydration.

The virus is easily transmitted by contact with an infected person, by consuming contaminated food or water or by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects. Norovirus often causes outbreaks because it is easily spread from one person to another and the virus is able to survive in the environment for many days.

Outbreaks usually tend to affect people who are in semi-closed environments such as schools, hospitals or nursing homes.

Public Health advises families who experience this illness to encourage effective hand-washing and drying and to increase the cleaning of any surfaces that are touched regularly.

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