Torquay sixth form girl student 'very ill' in hospital with meningitis
A WESTLANDS sixth form girl student is very ill in hospital with meningitis.
All students have been told of the case and classmates who may have been in close contact have been offered antibiotics as a precaution.
Headteacher Dr Colin Kirkman confirmed the pupil is a girl in the school's sixth form.
He said: "Very, very sadly we've had a girl pupil who has bacterial meningitis and is very, very unwell in hospital.
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"She became unwell a few days ago and she has been in hospital for a couple of days now.
"It is very sad for all of us.
"We send her our love and our prayers and we hope she makes a full recovery."
The school has one of the biggest sixth forms locally, with 300 pupils.
He said: "Obviously people are very upset, especially her close friends. Her fellow pupils wish to send her all their love and hope she gets better.
"We are providing a lot of support for the students. "Clearly it affects her close friends and we are extending all the pastoral care we have available."
Meningitis is a notifiable disease and the Health Protection Agency is involved.
A spokesman for the HPA said the case is being treated as 'suspected bacterial meningitis' until the outcome of test results is known.
Letters have been sent home to all parents to ensure they are aware of symptoms as a precaution.
Dr Kirkman said: "We have taken advice from the health authorities and done everything possible to make parents and pupils aware. We have issued a letter to all 1,400 pupils telling them the symptoms and what to watch out for just in case. The best thing we can do is raise people's awareness so we spot it early. Meningitis can be very serious and the outcomes are not always good.
"However, we are advised that because the girl had pre-existing medical conditions, it made her vulnerable, and it is highly unlikely it will spread to other students.
"Because of that, at the moment, they are not going to be inoculating anybody, but antibiotics are available."
The HPA's SW (South) Health Protection Unit has offered preventative medication to those who may have been at increased risk of infection as a result of being a close contact.