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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Two children at same primary school die, as UKHSA says contagious stomach bug 'unlikely' the cause

Two young children who attended the same primary school have died, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has confirmed.

The pupils, aged five and six, both attended Millstead Primary School in Everton, Liverpool, which caters for children with special needs.

The school has dealing with “a number” of cases of giardia infection - but the UKHSA has said the bug was “unlikely” to be the cause of the children’s deaths.

Head teacher Michelle Beard said in a statement: “The entire Millstead School community is devastated to have learned of the sad recent passing of two of our younger children.

"We have sent our sincerest condolences to both of their families.

“Both children filled their classes with joy during their time with us, and they will forever be in our hearts. We are working closely with our families, staff and pupils to support them as we come to terms with this terribly sad news.”

UK Health Security Agency North West confirmed it had been working with Liverpool City Council and partners following a number of cases of giardia linked to Millstead.

Emma Savage, Consultant in Health Protection for our Cheshire and Merseyside Health Protection Team, said: “UK Health Security Agency are aware of the sad deaths of two children who attend Millstead Primary School and our thoughts are with the family, friends and school community.

“The deaths are unlikely to be due to Giardia. Giardia usually causes a self-limiting gastrointestinal illness which can spread easily in households and school settings.

“Investigations are ongoing, and we have provided information and advice to the school and parents,” she added.

“Public health measures have been put in place to help prevent further cases.”

Giardiasis is an infection of the digestive system caused by tiny parasites known as giardia lamblia.

Symptoms include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, flatulence and bloating but it is “generally not a serious risk to health”, says UKHSA, and can be treated easily with antibiotics.

Giardiasis can be spread by direct contact with infected people or animals, or from swallowing contaminated water, food or drinks.

UKHSA advises any parents concerned that they or their child may have giardia, to contact their GP or NHS 111.

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