A STUDENT from a Witney school is recovering in hospital with a suspected case of meningitis.

The Henry Box School has confirmed one of its students was thought to have the potentially deadly disease, but stressed that risk of other students contracting it was 'extremely small'.

Bacterial meningitis can be fatal if it is not detected in time, but most people who are treated quickly make a full recovery. 

The infection only spreads through close contact such as coughing, kissing or sharing food and drink.

Wendy Hemmingsley, headteacher of the 1,200-pupil secondary school with sixth form, sent a letter to parents yesterday asking them to be aware of symptoms.

She wrote: "One of the students who attends our school has been admitted to hospital with suspected meningitis. 

"The student is recovering in hospital. 

"We are writing to reassure you that Public Health England have taken all necessary action to reduce the risk of any further cases.

"No action is necessary at the present time.

"All those who need antibiotics have already been contacted."

She said although risk of another case is 'very small', it is sensible for families to be aware of the symptoms (see here for what to look out for).

Ms Hemmingsley added in the letter: "This disease can be serious. 

"It is therefore important that it is dealt with very quickly, as it can be treated most effectively in the early stages."

According to the Oxford Vaccine Group, meningococcal disease - which causes meningitis and septicaemia  - is most often seen in infants and young children.

But its website adds: "There is a second peak in cases in 15-19 year olds, which is not seen in other infectious diseases.

"It is not known exactly what causes this."

Cases of meningitis overall have fallen in the UK in recent years following the introduction of vaccines, with several thousand cases each year.

But cases of a type called MenW have increased - though there is no suggestion this is the strain suspected in Witney.

In 2015 the Government started offering meningitis vaccines to all teenagers and new university students, to tackle the rise in MenW.