Winter vomiting bug outbreak sparks alert

Hollybush Primary School was closed due to an outbreak of norovirus.
Hollybush Primary School was closed due to an outbreak of norovirus.

A number of local schools have urged parents to keep children with norovirus symptoms at home amid an outbreak that has seen closures across the north.

Hollybush Primary School in Culmore was among those schools affected, and last week had to apply for a two-day extraordinary closure so that a deep clean could be enacted to try and contain the spread of the vomiting bug outbreak.

The Western Trust meanwhile has advised people not to visit Altnagelvin hospital or other health, nursing or care facilities if they or any of their family at home has vomiting, diarrhoea, coughs, cold, flu.

They have also advised that people should wait until at least 48 hours after symptoms end before visiting. A spokesperson said: “Hand hygiene is the most important method of preventing and controlling the spread of infections and it is extremely important that all visitors wash their hands with liquid soap and water before and after visiting. Alcohol hand sanitiser can also be used. When visiting your relative or friend, please do not sit on their bed or touch any equipment that is around them. Children under two should not visit any ward.”

Speaking about the situation in schools, an Education Authority spokesperson said: “EA is aware of a small number of schools who have closed to undertake a deep clean as a precautionary measure following an increase in cases of general winter illnesses, such as diarrhoea and vomiting. For information on staying well this winter, see www.nidirect.gov.uk/stay-well.”