Northern Ireland

Meningococcal infection: Two children admitted to hospital

Birches Primary School
Image caption Pupils and teachers at Birches Primary School have received antibiotics

Two children at a County Armagh primary school have been admitted to hospital with a meningococcal infection.

The families of both children at Birches Primary School, outside Portadown, have received antibiotics, as have other pupils and staff.

"This is being done as a precautionary measure and the risk to the wider public is extremely low," the Public Health Agency (PHA) said.

The PHA said it could not comment on the conditions of the two children.

A meningococcal infection can cause meningitis or septicaemia.

The PHA said it is informed about all cases of probable or confirmed meningococcal infection and "will take appropriate actions following national guidelines".

"It is important that everyone is aware of the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease," it said.

Early symptoms of the disease can include:

  • a high temperature (fever) over 37.5C (99.5F)
  • being sick
  • a headache
  • a blotchy rash that does not fade when a glass is rolled over it (this will not always develop)
  • a stiff neck
  • a dislike of bright lights
  • drowsiness or unresponsiveness
  • seizures (fits)

Babies with meningococcal disease tend to be irritable when picked up and have a high pitched cry, stiff body and jerking movements.

"Should anyone develop any of these they should contact their GP or local emergency department immediately," the PHA said.