Unknown illness hits Ekiti college, 300 hospitalised

No fewer than 300 pupils of the Federal
Government Girls’
College, Efon Alaaye, Ekiti State, have been
hospitalised
following an outbreak of an unknown disease.
Signs of the outbreak, which many reportedly
initially thought
was cholera, began on October 10 when some
of the pupils
started vomiting and stooling.
However, the Ekiti State Government, through
its Commissioner
for Health, Dr. Olurotimi Ojo, has dismissed
the disease as
“diarrhoea”, just as it has begun an
investigation into its cause.
Besides, it was learnt that Governor Ayodele
Fayose had ordered
the commissioner to mobilise healthcare
workers to the school
to arrest the situation.
Parents and guardians have started trooping
to the school to
check if their children and wards were among
the victims.
The Principal, Mrs. Grace Ogunyomi, was
said to have reported
the case to the State Government on
Wednesday for prompt
action.
The authorities of the school have been
taking the affected
pupils to Efon General Hospital since the
epidemic started.
Of the about 300 pupils said to be infected,
only 31 of them were
still receiving treatment while others had
been treated and
discharged, a source, who craved anonymity,
revealed on
Thursday.
Although it was suspected that the pupils
contracted the
sickness through food or water, a teacher,
who spoke under
anonymity, confirmed that medical
examination of samples of
their water and food proved otherwise.
When contacted, the Permanent Secretary,
Ministry of Health,
Dr. Folakemi Olomojobi, who spoke on behalf
of the
commissioner, confirmed that only 20 of the
infected pupils were
still in the hospital, adding that the ministry
had brought in
environmental health officials.
“We have alerted the water corporation to
chlorinate their water.
They have about six boreholes and we have
them chlorinated,
because we knew as professionals that the
water could be a
source.
“We are trying to look into their environment,
so that we can get
where such could have broken out. We want
to know how they
dump their faeces and how they dump their
sewages.
“We have taken blood samples of affected
pupils to the hospital
and the preliminary test shows that it was
not cholera. It was
diarrhoea and vomiting. We are sending the
samples for further
test to confirm that it is not cholera,” she
said.
The commissioner assured the public that
government would do
everything possible to control the epidemic.
Efforts to speak with the Permanent
Secretary, Federal Ministry
of Health, Mr. Linus Awute, on Thursday, were
not successful
as he neither answered his calls nor
responded to text messages
sent to his phone.
However, the Director, Diseases Surveillance
and Notification,
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Mrs.
Olubunmi Ojo, said only
a laboratory test could confirm the nature of
the infection.
She said,”We are waiting for an official
report. There is
surveillance in place that we need to check.
We shall have a
clearer picture by tomorrow. It may be food
poisoning and not
cholera. We will only be able to confirm after
a laboratory
diagnosis.

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A Web Developer, Educationalist And A Lover Of The Nigerian Students.

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