Parents have been reassured their children are not at increased risk of contracting meningitis after a youngster a Norfolk nursery was struck down by the disease.

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The child, who attends Mulberry Bush Day Nursery, in Wymondham, was taken to hospital on Wednesday after falling ill with suspected bacterial meningitis, while relations of another child at the same nursery have been struck down by the viral form of the disease.

Jo Billham, co-owner of Mulberry Bush, in Norwich Common, said the nursery was still open as usual from 8am-6pm Monday to Friday and staff were being advised by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) on measures to prevent any chance of the disease spreading, although the nursery’s existing health and safety measures were robust. Both the HPA and nursery have sent letters to parents to reassure them their children were not at increased risk because of the case and could still attend the nursery as usual.

She said the two children with viral meningitis did not themselves attend the nursery, but were related to one of the children who did.

“The information we have been given by the HPA is that the nursery does not need to take any action. The majority of the parents have been very supportive and have been asking how the child is,” she added.

Meningitis is an illness that causes the tissues around the brain and the spinal cord to swell up. The bacterial form is most commonly caused by meningococcus, which can be found in the nose and throat of between 10 and 20pc of people at any one time. The bacterial form is spread through close contact with others and needs treatment with antibiotics, while the viral form is less serious and not helped by antibiotics.

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