A HAMPSHIRE school was put on alert after two pupils contracted a potentially deadly infection.

Students and staff at Crestwood Community School in Eastleigh were warned about a possible meningitis outbreak after two pupils were hospitalised.

Two pupils were taken to hospital for emergency treatment.

But the school’s headteacher, Krista Dawkins, says both students have now made a full recovery.She has moved to reassure parents that multiple cases of meningitis in schools are “rare”.

Mrs Dawkins said: “I’ve been a headteacher here for 11 years and we’ve never had anything like this.

“The thing is it is exceptionally rare, and some children are immunised, but the bacteria can live in people’s nose and throats for ages.”

Mrs Dawkins said the outbreak was confined to just two students, both girls, who are close friends and in the same Year 8 tutor group.

The first girl fell sick on December 20 and was rushed to hospital after she was found unresponsive at home and in her bed. She regained conciousness two days later, following treatment for doctors described as an “aggressive form” of the infection.

The school immediately contacted the parents of its 1,100 students with news of the infection and details of the symptoms.

Mrs Dawkins says the schools prompt warning led to the quick diagnosis and treatment of the second infected student, on December 23.

Both girls were released from hospital on Christmas Eve.

Mrs Dawkins said: “As soon as we heard about the first student we contacted parents and gave advice, which led to the second student being diagnosed quickly. That sort of effective working really helped in this situation.”

Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed it is working closely with the school and NHS partners following the two confirmed cases of meningitis. A spokesperson added that close contacts of the infected students have been offered antibiotics and vaccinations.

Dr Girija Dabke, public health consultant for PHE South East of England, said: “Meningococcal infection is comparatively rare and we do not currently suspect further cases, but it is important that everyone should be aware of the symptoms to look out for and if anyone becomes ill with symptoms of meningitis or septicaemia (blood poisoning) they should get urgent medical help right away.

“This disease can be serious, and it is important that it is dealt with very quickly, as it can be treated most effectively in the early stages.

“People who have had prolonged, close contact with an ill person are at a slightly increased risk of becoming unwell, which is why these immediate contacts have been offered antibiotics as a precautionary measure.”

Symptoms to look out for:

l A high temperature

l Vomiting

l Severe headache

l Stiff neck

l Joint and muscle pain

l Dislike of bright lights

l A rash that doesn’t fade when pressed with a glass

More information is available from: www.meningitis.org.