A PRIMARY school, which was forced to close after dozens of children fell ill with the winter vomiting bug, has re-opened following a “deep clean”.

St Mary’s CE Primary School, in Edale Road, Deane, was closed on Monday after 46 children, 11 nursery pupils and six teachers called in sick on Friday with the highly contagious norovirus.

Environmental Health officers were called into the school and on Saturday and Monday, the school underwent a “deep clean” to sterilise the school.

Headteacher Diane Jeffries said the decision to close the school had been a “last resort” and was only taken after discussions with the board of governors, Bolton Council and Environmental Health.

The closure came 13 days after the first case of the winter vomiting bug, which spreads rapidly in classroom and hospital situations where there are large numbers of people in close proximity, was detected at the school on November 21.

It soon spread around the school, affecting dozens of children.

Yesterday, Mrs Jeffries said the majority of pupils and all staff were back at school.

She said: “Everybody seems to be on the mend. Today we have only had five children who have phoned in with similar symptoms, which is a marked improvement.”

Mrs Jeffries said parents had been told to keep children away from the school until 48 hours had passed since they stopped vomiting.

She said: “We are just hoping parents will follow this advice and consider the other children in the school.

“The school has been sanitised to try to get rid of the bug and we don’t know if the bug has disappeared but we are hopeful.”

Symptoms of the bug include vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Some people have a temperature, headache and stomach cramps.

People with norovirus are advised not to go to their GP or A&E but to take advice from either NHS Direct or their GP by phone.

They should wash hands thoroughly and regularly at all times, especially after using the toilet and before eating.