No fewer than 300 students of the Federal Government Girls’ College in Efon Alaaye, Ekiti State, have been hospitalised over an outbreak of a disease suspected to be cholera epidemic in the school.
The development had triggered serious panic across the state, as parents whose wards are in the school rushed in droves to identify the victims.
It was reliably confirmed that signs had started manifesting since October 10 when some students were vomiting and stooling uncontrollably, which sparked up fear among the staff and students.
When the matter was going beyond proportion, the principal, Mrs Grace Ogunyomi, was said to have reported the case to the state government on Wednesday for prompt action.
Though, it was confirmed that the students were not infected at the same time, they were being taken to the hospital in batches for medical attention.
To reduce the spread of the disease, Governor Ayodele Fayose had ordered the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olurotimi Ojo, to deploy professionals and drugs to help in stemming the tide of the epidemic.
The commissioner had also allayed the fears being exhibited by parents, saying it was a gastrointestinal infection popularly called diarrhea.
It was reliably confirmed that about 31 of them are still being hospitalised at the Efon General Hospital, while many have been treated and released, having responded to treatment in time.
It was gathered that what the teachers had earlier suspected was that their food and water must have been contaminated, leading to outbreak of the epidemic in the school.
But a teacher, who spoke with journalists under anonymity confirmed that medical examination of the samples of their water and food later confirmed that the infection did not emanate from those sources.
“What we felt was that, we thought their food and water had been infected, but we later gathered that it was not from that source.
When contacted, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Folakemi Olomojobi, who spoke on behalf of the commissioner, disclosed that the disease had attacked about 300 students, but pointed out that only 20 of them are still being attended to while others have been discharged in batches.
Ojo said the Ministry of Health had brought in environmental health officials, while many professionals are still being deployed to nip the crisis in the bud.
“We had alerted the water corporation to chlorinate their water. They have about six boreholes and we have got 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 their blood samples of students infected to the hospital and preliminary test shows that it was not cholera. It was diarrhea and vomiting. We are sending the samples for further test to confirm that it was not cholera,” she said.
The commissioner urged the members of the public not to exhibit fear, saying government would take every decisive action to put the situation under control.