A PRIMARY school in Chester-le-Street has become the latest to close for "deep cleaning" to prevent the spread of sickness.

Chester-le-Street Primary School will be closed tomorrow due to the high number of children and staff absent with flu-like symptoms.

It is expected to re-open on Monday.

Public Health England has been called by 60 schools across the North-East to report high numbers of cases of suspected viral illnesses.

Blue Coats CE (aided) Junior School, in Newton Hall, Durham re-opened today after being closed for 48 hours after about 120 pupils came down with symptoms.

Meanwhile, Newton Hall Infants' School is due to re-open tomorrow and Burnopfield Primary School will be closed until Monday. 

Public Health England has issued advice to try and prevent the spread of the sickness. 

Dr Gayle Dolan, consultant in health protection for Public Health England North East, said: “We expect viral illnesses of this kind to circulate in schools and the community at this time of year and we have been providing advice to parents and schools to help reduce the spread of infection.

“Flu can be extremely unpleasant for young children but for most healthy people it is a self-limiting illness.  Some people including older people, those with long-term medical conditions or weakened immune systems can be more at risk of developing complications and should seek prompt medical assessment if they develop symptoms of flu.

“The flu vaccination is the best form of protection we have. If they haven’t already had the flu nasal spray, it is important children who are in the clinical risk groups of flu visit their GP as soon as possible to be vaccinated. Primary school children should take up the opportunity to be vaccinated when their school vaccination programme begins, and toddlers aged two and three should visit their GP surgery as normal to receive this. 

“We also encourage adults in risk groups for flu: including pregnant women, those aged 65 and over and people with long term medical conditions or weakened immune systems, to book in with their GP or local pharmacy to receive the free vaccine.”

“The risk of all infections 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.

 “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.”