GOVERNMENT health officials have been called in to a school after more than 60 kids were struck down by norovirus.

A team of experts are helping to deal with the situation after droves of pupils fell ill with fever and vomiting.

The Public Health England North East (PHE NE) health protection team told Chronicle Live that they were working with staff at Kells Lane Primary School in Low Fell, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear but played down the high numbers of sick children.

And they revealed that the flare-up is "common at this time of year".

They added: "It is not uncommon for viruses including influenza (flu) and norovirus to circulate in the community and in schools."

It is believed more than 60 schoolchildren have been taken ill while advice has been given on "good hand hygiene" in a bid to stop the spread of infection.

Fever and vomiting

Bosses at the school declined to comment and will not confirm how many of the children have been affected.

A spokeswoman for PHE NE said: "We have been liaising closely with the school and offering appropriate health protection advice – as we do routinely with schools.

"The type of symptoms pupils are reporting – fever, vomiting  – is common for this time of year and our main advice is to practice good hand hygiene to help stop the spread of infection.

"The school contacted PHE yesterday, to make our health protection team aware of reports of illness amongst pupils, as is standard practice."

Top tips for parents for protecting kids from winter bugs

1. Make sure kids wash their hands properly

This prevents the spread of bugs like Norovirus and Shigella, as well as the common cold.

2. Keep kids away from other poorly children

Colds and coughs are almost unavoidable so this is one solution to protect them.

3. Get kids the free NHS flu vaccine

All children from two years old to the end of primary school are now eligible for a free NHS flu vaccine

4. Wrap asthma sufferers up in a scarf

By wrapping a scarf loosely over your child’s now and mouth this helps prevent airways from becoming inflamed

5. Keep kids' skin moisturised

This prevents eczema flare ups

6. Avoid woollen clothes

Opt for cotton clothes in the winter as wool can trigger eczema

Gateshead Council have received reports of vomiting and fever amongst pupils.

Dr Gayle Dolan, Consultant in Health Protection for PHE NE, said: "At this time of year it is not uncommon for viruses including influenza (flu) and norovirus to circulate in the community and in schools.

"The risk of infection can be reduced by practising good hand hygiene, particularly after using the toilet, after using a tissue to catch a cough or a sneeze, and before eating.

"Children who are feeling unwell should not attend school and only return once fully recovered and at least 48 hours after symptoms have passed.

"If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms, or need further advice on how to manage an illness please consult your GP or NHS 111 in the normal way."

How to protect your kids

Norovirus is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK and is also referred to as “the winter vomiting bug”.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, Clinical Director of, emphasises the need to make sure kids wash their hands thoroughly to stop them from catching this contagious and extremely unpleasant bug.

She tells The Sun Online: "Wash, wash and wash again!

"Norovirus is spread via the ‘faecal oral route’, which is just as disgusting as it sounds.

"Germs passed out in an infected person’s poo can be picked up on someone else’s hands, and transferred into their mouths when they touch their mouths or via food.

"So wash your hands thoroughly after going to the loo, before you handle or eat food and after you empty a potty."

Dr Jarvis also emphasises the need to keep all surfaces clean – and to steer kids clear from others that have been affected.

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She adds: "Clean surfaces including toilet handles, taps and door handles regularly with disinfectant.

"And make sure you wash your hands if you’ve been in a public place like a bus or train, where lots of other people have touched surfaces.

"If children in your kids’ circle are affected, steer clear of them until they have been clear of diarrhoea or vomiting for at least 48 hours."

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