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School pupils diagnosed with meningitis as close contacts given antibiotics

Two pupils from a Cardiff secondary school have become unwell with meningitis, it has been confirmed. Public Health Wales said it is working with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board to offer antibiotics and vaccines to pupils in years 12 and 13 at Bishop of Llandaff Church in Wales High School in Cardiff.

The NHS trust said close contacts of the students have been identified and have already been given antibiotics to stop the bacteria spreading. It explained that the decision to offer antibiotics to all pupils in years 12 and 13 is based on standard public health guidance for schools and no outbreak has been declared.

The two pupils have caught meningitis caused by the group B meningococcal bacteria. Dr Graham Brown, consultant in communicable disease control at Public Health Wales, said: "Meningococcal bacteria are carried in the back of the throat of about one in 10 people at any one time but only very rarely cause illness. The bacteria do not spread easily. People who have had prolonged close contact with the cases are at a slightly greater risk of getting ill."

Read more: Welsh Ambulance Service response times slowest on record for most life-threatening calls

PHW added that there is no reason for the school to change its routine or for children to be kept at home. Signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease can include headache, fever, drowsiness, vomiting, neck stiffness, and possibly a red rash that does not fade when pressed with a glass tumbler. It is important to seek medical advice quickly if you are concerned as the symptoms can worsen rapidly.

A spokesman added: "The cases are being managed appropriately in hospital. Public Health Wales will not release the name of patients and would ask that the privacy of the individuals concerned is respected. A small number of pupils from Whitchurch High School and Radyr Comprehensive School who attend some lessons at Bishop of Llandaff will also be offered antibiotics and vaccines. The pupils and parents involved have all been informed."

More information on meningitis can be found on the Public Health Wales website here. Advice over the phone can be obtained from the Meningitis Research Foundation, which has a 24-hour freephone helpline on 0808 800 3344, or from the Meningitis Now’s 24-hour freephone helpline on 0800 028 1828/ 0808 8010388.


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