Swine flu tragedy hits Castle Hill special school
Nov 6 2009 by Anne-Marie Senior, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
A 10-YEAR-OLD Huddersfield girl with special needs has died after contracting swine flu.
The tragic youngster was a pupil at Newsome’s Castle Hill School for children with severe and complex learning disabilities.
It is understood she had serious underlying health problems and had been in hospital for several weeks.
The girl’s parents were too upset to speak to the Examiner following their tragic loss, but headteacher Gill Robinson said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are very much with the family at this extremely difficult time.”
It is understood the pupil had suffered respiratory problems from birth and died from a cardiac arrest after battling flu-like symptoms.
She is the second young girl in Kirklees to die after catching swine flu.
Now, an emergency vaccination programme is under way at the school to protect vulnerable pupils and key workers.
The fast response has been organised to ensure all the children – already identified as being at an increased risk from swine flu because of their health conditions – are quickly vaccinated for their own protection.
The spokesman added: “Swine flu is circulating at Castle Hill School and a vaccination programme is now underway to provide protection to these very vulnerable pupils with complex health needs.
“The Health Protection Agency has recommended that pupils in the school who meet the already defined priority groups for vaccination should be offered vaccine at the school to ensure that they are receiving it as early as possible.
“This work is now being done by healthcare professionals from NHS Kirklees after consent from parents and carers.”
Parents were informed about the pupil’s sudden death in a letter from the headteacher this week.
They were also sent information from the Health Protection Agency detailing why their child should receive the swine flu vaccine.
The advice for special schools stated: “There is emerging evidence that children and adults with certain chronic neurological conditions including cerebral palsy, are at greater risk of hospitalisation and complications.
“The prevalence of a chronic neurological condition in people with confirmed H1N1 who died was 40 times higher than those with no risk factors.”
Castle Hill school closed a few days before the end of the summer term after an outbreak of the disease.