Mystery stomach bug forces school to close

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Public health officials were last night investigating an outbreak of a stomach illness which has affected nearly 60 young children and forced the temporary closure of their school.

Parents of children at the St Mary's and St Peter's Church of England Junior School in Teddington, in south-west London, were told of the closure by telephone. Fifty eight children, almost a quarter of the school's pupils, have suffered vomiting and stomach ache.

The Environmental Health team at Richmond Borough Council has been carrying out tests at the school, along with the local public health department from the Kingston and Richmond Health Authority.

Dr Pauline Langridge said tests had been carried out by the Environmental Health officers on toilets and kitchens, which proved clear. She confirmed the Thames Water company had examined the water supply.

"The initial tests by Thames Water are fine, although they still have to complete some tests," said Dr Langridge. The doctor ruled out food poisoning, as half the children affected had brought packed lunches.