Reports say at least 300 students of the Federal Government Girls’ College, Efon Alaaye, Ekiti State, have landed in the hospital following the outbreak of a strange illness in the state.
Many had thought it was an outbreak of Cholera when on October 10, some of the students were vomiting and stooling, and the state’s commissioner for health, Dr Olurotimi Ojo, has since dismissed the disease as “diarrhoea” as investigation into the cause has begun.
The Punch reports that as fear gripped everybody, Governor Ayodele Fayose ordered the commissioner to mobilise healthcare workers to the school to arrest the situation, just as parents and guardians have started trooping to the school to check if their children and wards were affected.
Grace Ogunyomi, the school’s principal was said to have reported the case to the state government while the victims have been taken to Efon General Hospital since the epidemic started.
An anonymous source revealed that only 31 of the 300 affected students were still receiving treatment, as others have since been discharged.
A teacher in the school however, discarded claims that the sickness may have been contracted through food or water, as he confirmed that medical examination of samples of same proved otherwise.
The Permanent Secretary, ministry of health, Dr Folakemi Olomojobi, who represented the commissioner, said that only 20 of the victims were still in the hospital, and that the ministry had brought in environmental health officials.
She said: “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.”
The Director, Diseases Surveillance and Notification, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Olubunmi Ojo, in her submission, said only a laboratory test could confirm the nature of the infection.
“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,” she noted.