UK

Children, 5 and 6, die after Merseyside school closes over infectious stomach bug outbreak

Two children who attended a Liverpool primary school which was battling an outbreak of an infectious stomach bug have died.

The pair, five and six, were pupils at Millstead Primary School, in Everton, Merseyside, which closed last month over the Giardia outbreak.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the causes of the deaths of the two children have not been confirmed but that they are “unlikely to be due to Giardia”.

Giardiasis is an infection of the digestive system caused by tiny parasites known as giardia lamblia – which can cause diarrhoea and stomach cramps – but is usually cured with antibiotics.

The headteacher said the school community was “devastated” after their recent deaths and that both children “filled their classes with joy”.

Millstead headteacher Michelle Beard, said: “The entire Millstead School community is devastated to have learned of the sad recent passing of two of our younger children. We have sent our sincerest condolences to both of their families.

“Both children filled their classes with joy during their time with us, and they will forever be in our hearts. We are working closely with our families, staff and pupils to support them as we come to terms with this terribly sad news.”

A UKHSA spokesperson added: “UK Health Security Agency are aware of the sad deaths of two children who attend Millstead Primary School and our thoughts are with the family, friends and school community. The deaths are unlikely to be due to giardia.

“Giardia usually causes a self-limiting gastrointestinal illness which can spread easily in households and school settings.”

Emma Savage, consultant in health protection for the UKHSA Cheshire and Merseyside Health Protection Team, said: “Investigations are ongoing, and we have provided information and advice to the school and parents. Public health measures have been put in place to help prevent further cases.”

Giardiasis can be spread by direct contact with infected people or animals, or from swallowing contaminated water, food or drinks. Once treated symptoms should stop in about a week but can sometimes last longer.

The bug can be prevented by washing hands with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and before handling and eating food. Children should be encouraged to wash their hands regularly.

Xural.com

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