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Dangereous bacterium find keeps school shut

Published 04/02/2013

A SPECIAL school where a bacterium which can cause the potentially fatal Legionnaires' disease was found, will remain closed this week.

A strain of Legionella was found in a disused shower block at Hillcroft Special School in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, late last week.

The bacterium was discovered following a planned water testing programme, which involved all schools in the North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) area.

The board said the area was not used by pupils.

As a precautionary measure, and following the guidance from the Health and Safety Executive, the school was closed last Friday to allow further tests to be carried out.

The NEELB said the school would remain closed until at least Monday, February 11 until all tests have been completed.

"We would like to reassure anyone who may be concerned that the area where the bacterium was found has not been in use by the pupils or staff at the school," a spokesman said.

"The parents of pupils attending Hillcroft Special School have been notified by the principal and we will continue to work closely with the school, the Public Health Agency and the Health and Safety Executive to resolve this issue as quickly as possible."