An infant has tragically died in hospital after a meningitis outbreak at a Derbyshire school.
Public Health England (PHE) were notified of two cases of meningitis in children who attend Lenthall Infant and Nursery school, in Dronfield, this week.
A PHE spokesperson said: “The first case has recovered, but sadly the second case has died and our thoughts are with the family at this sad time.”
The spokesperson said it was uncommon for two cases to be confirmed at the same school.
In wake of the tragedy, a Chesterfield mum who lost her firstborn to meningitis in 2005, has spoken out to offer her condolences and advice.
Melissa Weller, 28, who lost daughter Charlie at just one year and five days old, said: “The day she died a part of me died with her. I will love her and miss her every day.
“No words can describe the pain of losing a child, but having the support of family and friends is something I was very grateful for.”
Melissa, who now has three children, added: “I hope the parents can reach out and get the support they need at this difficult time.
“As somebody who has experienced the pain of losing a child to meningitis, my heart and sympathies go out to them.”
The PHE spokesperson said the close household contacts of the children have been offered prophylactic antibiotics as a precautionary measure, as in all cases of meningococcal meningitis c.
They said: “It is uncommon to get two cases of the same strain of meningitis in one school. Therefore as an additional precautionary measure, both children and staff at the school were offered prophylactic antibiotics.”
PHE said it is working with NHS partners and Derbyshire County Council to ensure all necessary actions are taken.
Dr Sophia Makki, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at PHE East Midlands, said: “The risk that the meningococcal germ has been passed on to others is low. About one person in ten carries the germ in their nose and throat without coming to any harm from it. It is only spread from one person to another by very close contact.”
Symptoms of meningitis can include: a high temperature and/or vomiting; severe headache; a stiff neck, aching limbs and joints; a dislike of bright lights; drowsiness and/or purple rash, which does not fade when pressed; in small babies, a refusal to feed a high pitched cry and swelling of the soft spot on top of the head.
Not all signs and symptoms may show at once, but someone with this illness may become very ill and while it may progress over one or two days, it can also develop very rapidly, which is why it is important to be very watchful over someone who is showing any of the symptoms above. If you are concerned contact your doctor.
Offering advice to parents, Melissa said: “Looking back, I just had a feeling Charlie had meningitis and I wish I had stuck to my guns.
“If you are sure your child has meningitis, do not leave the hospital until you have been absolutely reassured – do not go home if you are still worried.”
Public Health England: www.gov.uk/government/collections/meningococcal-disease-guidance-data-and-analysis
Meningitis Now: www.MeningitisNow.org