More than 60 schoolchildren are understood to have been struck down after an outbreak of fever and vomiting has swept through a school.
Government health officials have been called in to help deal with the situation at Kells Lane Primary School in Low Fell, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.
Experts from the Public Health England North East (PHE NE) health protection team told Chronicle Live that they were working with staff but played down the high numbers of sick children.
They told reporters 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."
Bosses at the school declined to give a statement and will not confirm how many of the children have been affected.
The Mirror understands more then 60 pupils have been taken ill while advice has been given on “good hand hygiene” in an attempt to stop the spread of infection.
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, 12/11/19, to make our health protection team aware of reports of illness amongst pupils, as is standard practice.”
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.”
A spokesman from Gateshead Council Press Office said: “Our Environmental Health Department was contacted by the school who contacted Public Health England.
"Apart from this there is very little we know as the matter was passed onto them to deal with.
“The school does not want to give a comment.”
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