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St Brigid's Primary School, Moyagall

Gastroenteritis Outbreak in school.

9th Sep 2021

Dear Parent,

Please read the PHA advice regarding our current outbreak of sickness in school:-




Health Protection Duty Room

Public Health Agency

12-22 Linenhall Street




Date 09/09/21

St Brigid's Primary School Magherafelt

BT45 8PG

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Suspected Gastroenteritis outbreak in St Brigid's PS Magherafelt

The Public Health Agency has been notified of a suspected Gastroenteritis Outbreak associated with St Brigid’s Primary school.  The Public Health Agency has worked with the school to provide relevant information and Infection Control advice.

How does this affect my child?

If your child(ren) do become unwell, it is important he/she does not attend school you will be asked to keep them off school until they have been well for 48 hours.


What is Gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is commonly caused by viral infections resulting in vomiting and diarrhoea. It can be caused by a number of different viruses, such as rotavirus and norovirus. There are many other uncommon causes of gastroenteritis including bacteria, toxins, parasites etc.


Why is it a problem?

The main symptoms of viral gastroenteritis are vomiting and watery diarrhoea. Other symptoms may include nausea, fever, abdominal pain, headache, and muscle aches. Symptoms can take between one and three days to develop and usually last between one and two days, sometimes longer. Some people may also have a raised temperature, headache or aching limbs.  Viral gastroenteritis is very infectious and can spread easily in school settings due to the close contact between children and staff. Large numbers of students and staff can be involved. It is important to stop the illness from spreading further between children and also to relatives and friends.

Will my child need treatment?

The main treatment is making sure your child(ren) drink plenty of fluid so that they do not become dehydrated. If they develop diarrhoea and vomiting, a faecal (poo) sample may be requested for laboratory testing which you can submit via your own GP surgery.  The illness is usually mild in nature and gets better without any further treatment. If you have any concerns regarding your child symptoms or about anyone else in your home please contact your GP for advice.

How do I reduce the spread to other people in the home?

There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill.

  • Thorough hand washing with soap and warm water do this for at least 20 seconds after going to the toilet and before eating helps to stop the transmission of viral gastroenteritis, as well as other bugs.
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.  Soap and water is the preferred option to prevent viruses such as norovirus.
  • Extra cleaning of your home with particular attention to the toilets. These should be cleaned with household detergent and warm water. Particular attention should also be paid to flush handles, sink taps, door handles and light switches. The cleaning cloths you use should be disposable.

How do I clean up after accidents?

When cleaning up vomit or faeces paper towels or toilet roll should be used initially. The area should then be cleaned using warm soapy water and a disposable cloth before being disinfected with regular household detergent. You should immediately dispose of all materials and hand washing after cleaning is essential.


When can my child return to school?


Your child(ren) should not return to school or any other childcare settings until they are 48 hours or more since their last episode or vomiting or diarrhoea.  Attending school sooner than this may mean they are still infectious and could spread the infection to others.  Please ensure your child(ren) have fully recovered before returning to school or childcare settings.

Yours sincerely,

Louise Flanagan

Consultant in Public Health Medicine