Enter your email to read this article
Read news on any topic, in one place, from publishers like The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more.

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.

READ NEXT:

Related Stories
Four Strep A warning signs after child, 6, dies from rare outbreak at school
Classmates and teachers at the primary school in Ashford, Surrey were given strong antibiotics by specialists from the UK Health Security Agency
From analysis to the latest developments in health, read the most diverse news in one place.
What is Strep A and what are the symptoms?
Parents advised to be mindful of signs including characteristic rash and ‘strawberry tongue’
Six-year-old child dies following Strep A bacteria outbreak at primary school
A child in hospital is understood to be recovering and antibiotics have been prescribed to other members of the school’s community.
‘Shock’ after child, 6, dies in school Strep A outbreak as antibiotics handed out
Another child ‘has developed same illness’ and recovering, school tells parents
Child dies and another in hospital after rare bacteria outbreak at primary school
Pupils and teachers are being offered strong antibiotics by specialist doctors from the UK Health Security Agency against the bacteria, known as Strep A
One place to find news on any topic, from hundreds of sites.
Child, 6, dies and second in hospital after rare bacteria outbreak at primary school
A schoolchild has died and another was sent to hospital after an outbreak of a rare bacteria at a primary school, while classmates and teachers were given strong anti-biotics