School shut as 52 pupils hit by vomiting virus

Balgreen Primary will be cleaned this weekend
Balgreen Primary will be cleaned this weekend
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A PRIMARY school has been closed and a deep clean ordered after more than 50 of its pupils were struck down with a vomiting and diarrhoea bug.

A total of 52 pupils – one in seven – and one member of staff at Balgreen Primary are said to have been hit by norovirus.

Headteacher Avril Wilson has now ordered a deep clean of the school to prevent a further outbreak, while NHS chiefs are reviewing the situation daily.

All pupils were sent home yesterday afternoon – along with all other city schools, which were closed because of the weather – but Balgreen parents were told that their children should not return to school today.

It is hoped that the deep clean over the weekend will mean that pupils can return to school as normal on Monday.

Mrs Wilson said: “The wellbeing of everyone at our school is paramount so we’ve taken the decision to send pupils and staff away and we’ve ordered a deep clean so we can get back to normal next week.”

Reports of children suffering from the virus, which causes sudden vomiting and diarrhoea, were made to the school on Wednesday by parents.

It later emerged that pupils in nine out of 14 classes were affected by the bug.

The headteacher reported the outbreak to NHS Lothian and was advised to close the school and order a deep clean to prevent it spreading further.

Graham MacKenzie, consultant in public health for NHS Lothian, said: “We are investigating a possible outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting, likely caused by the norovirus at an Edinburgh school.

“Public health colleagues have visited and given advice on how best to minimise the risk of further transmission.

“We are reviewing the situation on a daily basis.”

The outbreak comes after a similar bug struck another city primary school in March.

St John’s Primary in Portobello was also given a deep clean after a vomiting bug left a quarter of its pupils sick.

At the height of the outbreak, more than 100 children were kept off school and 17 pupils from one class alone were absent as a result of the bug.

A team of council cleaning staff was sent in over a weekend and they spent a total of 80 hours scrubbing the school buildings from top to bottom, focusing particularly on areas such as the toilets.

Speaking about the Balgreen outbreak, city education leader Councillor Marilyne MacLaren said: “Bugs like this are unpleasant but not uncommon and I’m really impressed with the school’s fast and decisive action to sort it out quickly.”

Guests at a city hotel were asked to stay in their rooms following a suspected outbreak of norovirus in September.

Around 100 guests and staff at the Edinburgh Mariott hotel in Glasgow Road were believed to have contracted the illness.

Health officials were called in to deal with the virus after guests showed signs of vomiting and diarrhoea.