September 25, 2022

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Panic as ‘strange illness’ breaks out in Delta

A  student has reportedly died and nine others hospitalised after the outbreak of an ailment in Boji Bojji Owa, in the Ika North-East Local Government Area of Delta State.

Our correspondent gathered that in a bid to ascertain the cause of the ailment among some students of Marymount College, Agbor, the school was shut down.

The representative of the school, Rev. Sister Kauna Ola, and the School Secretary, Mrs Rita Ofuasia, stated that the decision to shut down the school was part of measures to ensure that the outbreak did not escalate.

They disclosed this on Friday during a meeting at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.

They said the school had informed the parents of the affected children.

Ola informed the permanent secretary and officials of the Ministry of Health that one of the affected students died days after her parents took her to a hospital for treatment, adding that the pupils showed signs of the strange ailment through jerking.

She said, “Four of the 10 students were taken to St. John’s Hospital, Agbor, while the parents of the remaining six students took them to hospitals of their choice.

“There is a gas plant close to the school and the management of the school had long told the owner of the plant to remove it from the place for the sake of the health of the people in the area.”

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Augustine Oghoro, said the state government was committed to ensuring that learning environment was safe for children and teachers.

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He said, “The ministry has taken a holistic approach towards unravelling the circumstances that led to the shutting down of the school.

“The ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, considers it necessary to interface with the management of Marymount College with a view to evaluating the health implications of the sickness.

“This meeting is also aimed at getting first-hand information from the management of the school on the symptoms of the sickness which the affected students exhibited to enable the state epidemiologist to examine what the ailment could be and the best approach to deal with it.”

It was learnt that the National Centre for Disease Control had been notified and samples sent to the National Reference Laboratory, Abuja, for analysis.