About 300 pupils of the Federal Government Girls’ College, Efon Alaaye, Ekiti State, have been reportedly hospitalised after an outbreak of an unknown disease hit the school.
Punch reports that many initially thought the outbreak which began on October 10 was cholera, when some of the pupils started vomiting and stooling.
But 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.
Governor Ayodele Fayose had also 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.
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.