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‘Spider outbreak’ prompts closure of Redbridge primary school

PUBLISHED: 17:25 18 October 2018 | UPDATED: 06:57 19 October 2018

A reported spider infestations has closed Fairlop Primary School in Hainault. Pic: The Natural History Museum

A reported spider infestations has closed Fairlop Primary School in Hainault. Pic: The Natural History Museum

Archant

A Redbridge school is closed due to a reported outbreak of spiders feared to be the same species that has forced several east London schools to shut down.

Council leader Jas Athwal confirmed to the Recorder that Fairlop Primary School, in Colvin Gardens, Hainault, has closed today amid an outbreak of spiders.

He said that that the exact species and type of infestation is yet to be established, but it is possible they may be false widow spiders.

false widow spiders have resulted in the closure of 10 schools in neighbouring Newham.

A council spokeswoman said: “After reports that a small number of people had been bitten by a spider, Fairlop Primary School was closed to allow for pest control assessments to be made and for the problem to be treated.

“The school worked in conjunction with parents to ensure that all pupils were safely released to their parents’ care and provided further advice to parents and staff about how a spider bite of this kind might be treated.

“The school will be closed for the rest of today and will remain closed tomorrow to allow the relevant services access to the parts of the schools affected.

“Treatment of the affected areas of the school will continue during the half term holiday next week and the school will make arrangements to provide advice and guidance to parents about the school re-opening after the forthcoming October holiday”.

What are the spiders?

According to the British Arachnological Society, there are three types of false widow spiders in Britain - the noble false widow, or steatoda nobilis, the steatoda bipunctata and the steatodo grossa.

All can be identified by shiny abdomens with a white half moon shape at the front, and are generally between seven and 14 mm long.

The noble false widow has the most toxic bite of any British spider, but there are few confirmed cases of biting and none of serious injury.

The bites are compared to a wasp sting, with a relatively short-lived pain and the possibility of feeling unwell for a day or two.

Serious problems usually only arise if the bite becomes infected or the person’s immune system is weak from other health issues, and anyone with swelling after a spider bite should seek medical advice immediately.

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