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     FrontPage Edition: Wed 11 October 2006

Norovirus outbreak may have affected another two schools



An Excerpt

Recent Outbreaks in Schools
In the last two weeks, Ang Mo Kio Secondary School and Stamford Primary School had each reported cases of more than 100 students and staff falling ill with symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea.
MOH has investigated into the Ang Mo Kio Secondary School outbreak which occurred on 25-28 Sep and established the cause as norovirus gastroenteritis. Investigations into the cause of outbreak at Stamford Primary School are still in progress although norovirus has also been identified.
As at Friday, 6 Oct, two other schools [ACS(I) and Maris Stella (Primary)] have reported 20-30 cases of students and staff falling ill with similar symptoms. These cases are also being investigated to determine their cause.
As a precautionary measure to pre-empt further outbreaks, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has instructed schools to take the following actions starting from this weekend:
  • Cleaning of all schools over the weekend and intensifying the cleaning regime of school premises in the following weeks until the situation stabilizes. Particular attention will be paid to the cleaning of canteens and toilets.
  • Strengthening canteen hygiene - school staff such as the Administration Manager and the Operations Manager will conduct daily and regular checks on food handling by canteen vendors.
  • Visually screening students, staff, vendors and visitors for their well-being, in particular to look out for symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea. If any student, staff, vendor or visitor are unwell, they will be isolated and advised to seek medical attention. Parents of students who are unwell will be asked to take their children to the doctor.
  • Reminding students to heed MOH¨s advice on good hygiene to minimize coming into contact with the norovirus.
MOE has guidelines in place for schools to make special arrangements to help our students who are unwell, while sitting for national or school-based examinations.
In grading the affected pupils' examination papers, the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) or schools will take into account the circumstances under which these pupils took the examinations.
Thus, the MOE and SEAB would like to assure parents that no student will be disadvantaged because of such incidents.
MOE and schools will continue to look into the welfare of the students and to monitor the situation closely.
More..... (Subsequent News: So far, only two schools have had outbreaks of norovirus gastroenteritis. They are the Ang Mo Kio Secondary School and Stamford Primary School. Two additional schools Maris Stella and ACS (Independent) had reports of diarrhoeal illness.)

Source: Press Release 9 Oct 2006

Recent outbreaks of norovirus gastroenteritis in two schools

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