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Airborne disease hit Queens College as Lagos govt begins investigation

Queen’s College, Lagos.
Queen’s College, Lagos.

The Lagos State Government has commenced investigation into the purported outbreak of airborne flu-like illnesses among students of Queens College, Yaba and other schools in the state.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, who disclosed this in a statement said that an investigative team comprising of officials of the State Epidemiology team, Primary Health Care Services and Environmental Health Department of Lagos Mainland Local Government was set up by the ministry and dispatched to unravel the cause of the illnesses.

It was earlier reported that some students of Queens College had been taken back home by their parents barely two weeks after resumption following the outbreak of an illness suspected to be infection while some others were reported to have been admitted at the school’s sickbay.

Two years ago, two students of Queen’s College died from water-borne infection following contamination of the school water.

While reviewing preliminary reports of the investigations conducted by the team, the Health Commissioner explained that the surveillance team identified what appears to be a sporadic increase in upper respiratory tract infections characterized by cough, catarrh, fever and weakness across some schools.

“The team has since visited Queens College and investigations are ongoing. Findings, according to the review of health records in the school sick bay, revealed that 89 students were presented to the clinic with Influenza like illnesses.

“A walk through inspection to other facilities in the school revealed that environmental sanitation and water supply are optimal but could be improved,” he said.

He noted that the incidence is not an outbreak of any sort but excess number of cases that needed to be investigated.

Prof. Abayomi further revealed that nasal swab samples will be collected from the students for confirmation of the cause of the illness.

“As we await comprehensive report of the investigation being conducted, I would like to appeal to stakeholders of Queens College, other affected schools and residents of Lagos state to remain calm and ensure strict adherence to personal and environmental hygiene at all times.

“I assure you that the situation is under control and seems to be subsiding. We will give necessary updates as the assessment and investigation progresses,” Abayomi said.

He advised all schools in Lagos either day or boarding to adopt basic precautionary measures against diseases and illnesses by teaching and  ensuring good hand washing practices, promoting personal hygiene and providing adequate hand washing points within the school premises.

He also directed them to commence and continue to raise awareness about respiratory etiquette such as covering of mouth with clean hands or handkerchiefs when coughing or sneezing, and washing hands immediately after.

He stressed that the school management must hold food handlers and vendors to the highest health and hygiene check protocols as stipulated in the law, and practiced world over.

Also, he advised students to avoid sharing personal items such as spoons, handkerchiefs and toothbrushes amongst others. .

“To parents, please do not send your children to school if they have features of an upper respiratory tract infection such as cold or flu-like symptoms but rather have your doctor review them,” Abayomi appealed.

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