THATTO Heath Primary School is closed today after 114 pupils and five staff were affected by the norovirus bug.

Public Health England had issued a warning following increased levels of children catching gastroenteritis across St Helens earlier this week.

The primary school, based on Hobart Street, Thatto Heath, announced yesterday via Facebook that it will be closed on Friday.

A letter to parents from headmistress Catherine Ireland read: "I am writing to inform you that I have, unfortunately had to take the decision to close the school to all pupils tomorrow, Friday, November 29 due to the continued outbreak of flu-like symptoms and sickness and diarrhoea.

"The illnesses have been peaking throughout today with a significant number of pupils having been sent home. All infection control measures, as instructed by Public Health, have been implemented. A deep clean of the school premises will be undertaken during the closure.

"School will reopen on Monday, December 2. The planned performance of the year five and six Carols service at St John's Church on Monday will, however, be cancelled.

"I will, of course, keep you informed of any future developments and hope that the remainder of our planned events will take place.

"We hope that any pupils and their families affected by the illnesses make a speedy recovery".

St Helens Council have today confirmed that 114 pupils and five staff members were affected by the bug, leading to the decision for it to be closed today.

A St Helens Council spokesperson said: "Having gastroenteritis can be a horrible experience but there are some really simple steps you can take to look after yourself or your children if you do contract it. Make sure you take on plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated and you have to take on more than usual to compensate for any lost fluids through sickness and diarrhoea. If you have signs of dehydration like a dry mouth or dark urine try special rehydration drinks too. If you can manage to eat something try simple things like rice, bread and pasta.
"Gastroenteritis can be passed on very easily so make sure you wash your hands regularly and stay away from work or school for 48 hours after you last experienced symptoms to reduce the risk of spreading it further."