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Outbreak of meningitis-causing infection at Little Angels Day Nursery

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Two children are in hospital following an outbreak of a potentially life-threatening infection at a nursery school.

The youngsters, who attend Little Angels Day Nursery in Vale Road, Northfleet, are being treated for meningococcal disease.

The condition can cause meningitis or sepsis and is most common in babies and young children.

Public Health England has confirmed to News Shopper it is investigating the outbreak.

A spokeswoman said: “Specialists from Public Health England are working closely with NHS partners following two confirmed cases of meningococcal infection in Northfleet – both patients are receiving treatment in hospital.

“Close contacts have been identified and offered antibiotics to reduce the risk of others becoming infected.

“Advice has also been issued on meningitis symptoms along with steps to take if people suspect they or a family member is affected.”

The nursery’s owner, Sugandree Chavda, told News Shopper yesterday it is open as usual and there is no need to panic.

Dr Rachel Pudney, public health consultant for PHE south east of England, said the infections are rare.

She said: “”Meningococcal infection is comparatively rare and we do not currently suspect further cases, but it is important that everyone should be aware of the symptoms to look out for and if anyone becomes ill with symptoms of meningitis or septicaemia (blood poisoning) they should get urgent medical help right away.

“This disease can be serious, and so it is important that it is dealt with very quickly, as it can be treated most effectively in the early stages.

“People who have had prolonged, close contact with an ill person are at a slightly increased risk of becoming unwell, which is why these immediate contacts have been offered antibiotics as a precautionary measure.”

Early symptoms, which may not always be present, include:

• A high temperature

• Vomiting

• Severe and worsening headache

• Stiff neck

• Joint and muscle pain

• Dislike of bright lights

• A rash that doesn’t fade when pressed with a glass

• Drowsiness that can deteriorate into a coma

Dr Pudney said: “I would also urge parents to ensure their children are fully up-to-date with all childhood vaccinations – including Meningitis B, Meningitis C and Meningitis A.C, W, Y in line with current recommendations as these vaccines protect against a number of different strains of meningitis which are more common among children and young people.”

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