No fewer than 300 students of the Federal Government Girls’ College (FGGC), Efon Alaaye in Ekiti State have been hospitalised following what was suspected to be an outbreak of cholera in the school.
But the Ekiti State government, which confirmed the treatment of the students, however, described the illness as gastro-intestinal infection.
The development, which has triggered a panic at the school, was said to have started on October 10 and it was gathered that parents, whose children are in the school now rush to the school.
Witnesses said some students were vomiting and stooling, which sparked fear among staff and students.
The principal, Mrs Grace Ogunyomi was said to have reported the development to the state government on Wednesday.
Though, it was confirmed that the students were not infected at the same time, but they were being taken to the hospital in batches for prompt medical attention.
Governor Ayodele Fayose, it was gathered, had directed the Commissioner for Health, Dr Olurotimi Ojo, to deploy professionals and drugs, and it was confirmed that relevant drugs and personnel had been deployed.
The commissioner had also allayed the fears by parents, saying it was a gastro-intestinal infection popularly called diarrhoea.
It was gathered that about 31 of the students are still at the Efon General Hospital while many had been treated and released.
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 disease in the school.
But a teacher, who spoke with newsmen under anonymity, confirmed that examination of the samples of the 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 found out 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 affected about 300 students, but pointed out that only 20 of them are still being attended to while others had been discharged in batches.
Dr Ojo said the Ministry of Health had brought in environmental health officials while many professionals are still being deployed to arrest the situation.
“We have informed 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 have taken the blood samples of the students infected to the hospital and preliminary test shows that it was not cholera. It was diarrhoea. We are sending the samples for further test to confirm that it was not cholera,” she said.