High school girl dies of meningitis
A girl has died and another is in hospital after catching meningitis at a school.
Other children at Wadebridge School, a mixed comprehensive in Cornwall with around 1,200 students, are now being given antibiotics after the girl, in Year Eight, died on March 29.
In a letter to parents, Tina Yardley, the school's headteacher, told them of the as-yet-unnamed girl's death and urged parents who see any symptoms of the deadly infection in their children to contact a doctor at once.
"I am sure you can imagine the shock and devastation that her family are experiencing and the very deep impact that a tragedy such as this has on everyone here at school," she said.
"We will do our very best to support her family, her classmates and our staff and all of our love and thoughts are with her family at this time."
The Health Protection Agency (HPA), which is investigating the outbreak, confirmed that a second girl is in hospital with what is believed to be meningitis.
In a letter posted on the school's website on Tuesday, HPA disease specialist Dr Mark Kealy said it would give pupils at the specialist business and enterprise college the antibiotic ciprofloxacin.
"In these circumstances we consider it quite possible that the bacterium that causes meningitis may be circulating within Year Eight students at the school and we are including Year Seven in this as they join Year Eight in tutorial groups," he wrote.
"We advise parents to ensure that students take this antibiotic as soon as practicable with water after they return home. If parents do not want their child to receive this antibiotic, they can either notify the school office or simply dispose of the tablets when they are brought home."