A SOUTHAMPTON school struck down by a vomiting bug is likely to be at the centre of a norovirus outbreak, environmental health experts have confirmed to the Daily Echo.

It is understood about half of the pupils at Fairisle Infant and Nursery School have been reported sick in the last week after contracting the highly contagious illness.

Now Public Health England (PHE) has reported the outbreak is thought to be norovirus - a higly spreadable bug that causes severe sickness.

A PHE spokesman said they received notification of Southampton City Council's Environmental Health’s investigation at the school yesterday morning and that a local team was working to disinfect classrooms and cut infection risks.

The city council added the school had not been closed but some children may have been sent home as a precaution.

Daily Echo:

One parent told the Daily Echo that at least 29 children from the reception year were not able to come into school - and some classrooms of 30 were down to just nine pupils earlier in the week.

In a letter to the parents, head teacher Susanne Ottens said: “You may be aware that there has been some sickness in the school over the last few days.

“The school is working with the local Environmental Health service to investigate the cause of this illness. We have arranged for additional cleaning to be carried out to reduce the risk of any further infection.

She added: “Please can I remind parents in line with advice from Public Health England that children with symptoms should be excluded from school until 48 hours after their last episode of sickness. This is because symptoms can sometimes restart and children can introduce infection into the school.

“Please rest assured that the school is taking the appropriate steps to provide a healthy environment for the children.”

Symptoms for the virus include vomiting and diarrhoea. The city council has not yet been able to determine how many children are currently off with the bug.

PHE has also urged parents and children at the school to pay particular attention to good hygiene, washing hands thoroughly after every episode of sickness or visit to the toilet as well as before handling food and cleaning contaminated areas.

Cabinet health boss Dave Shields added: “I am very concerned for the children who have contracted the bug but I am confident that the environmental health team will sort this out and are doing their best to solve this as soon as possible.”