A SOUTHAMPTON school has been shut after traces of a potentially-fatal bacteria were found in its water system.

Mason Moor Primary School will remain closed until Thursday after legionella bacteria was discovered during a water quality test.

The bacteria can result in the deadly Legionnaire's Disease, although education chiefs have said that parents should not be “unduly concerned”.

The school in Millbrook was closed after traces of the bacteria above the threshold set by the Health and Safety Executive were found in its water system.

Work is currently underway to disinfect the system, while tests will then be carried out to ensure the water is safe.

The test results are expected back on Wednesday, and it is expected the school in Helvellyn Road will reopen again on Thursday.

In a joint statement sent to parents, school headteacher Sian Smith and Southampton City Council's head of education Graham Talbot said: “We would like to assure all concerned that the identification of legionella in this instance comes on the back of a robust programme of water quality testing and that the school has been rigorous in the execution of its duties in this respect.

“It should also be noted that the detection of legionella bacteria in a school water system does not itself represent an immediate hazard if there is no chance of the bacteria becoming airborne.

“In line with best practice, the school has been closed as a precautionary measure, but parents should not be unduly concerned.

“Children are considered to be low risk for infection. School employees tend to be higher risk, particularly if smokers and/or with a suppressed immune system from illness.”

They advise any parents with concerns over their children's health to contact their GP.

Legionella's initial symptoms are similar to flu, such as high fever, headaches, chills and muscle pain.

If the tests show the disinfection has been unsuccessful, the school may remain closed for a longer period.