By Elizabeth Uwandu
The Federal Ministry of Health has dispelled media reports of an undisclosed epidemic in Queens College, Yaba, Lagos.
This was revealed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, on Tuesday when he paid an unscheduled visit to the school.
In a confirmatory message to the media in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary said, “there was no cholera outbreak but flu and malaria cases, which the Principal informed me have been brought under control. I am on my way to Lagos for on the spot assessment.” he said.
Some media reports on Monday had it that over 900 students of Queens College, Yaba were allegedly sent home on account of being infected by an undisclosed ailment.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has said investigation of the purported flu has begun. Information by the Ministry stated that the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi has received preliminary report by an investigative team set up by the Ministry to look into the above case.
The Investigative team comprised of officials of State Epidemiology team; Primary Health Care Services and Environmental Health Department of Lagos Mainland Local Government.
Abayomi while reviewing preliminary report by the team that earlier visited the school reiterated that,.
“findings according to the review of health records in the school sick bay revealed that 89 students presented to the clinic with Influenza like illnesses”,
Noting that issue of environmental sanitation and water supply needed improvement across schools in Lagos. The Commissioner however explained that the incidence was not an outbreak of any sort but excess number of cases that needed to be investigated
” 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 also called for health and safety measures to be taken by schools and parents at home.
On their part, Queen’s College Old Girls Association, QCOGA, in a release signed by the General Secretary, Engr Ayomide Onakoya stated that there was nothing like outbreak of any epidemic.
They however, explained that since last Thursday that the alarm of an infection was raised, the association commenced an investigation
” The results of our investigations which commenced on Thursday, September 26, 2019 when we first got wind of the issue and then continued on Monday, September 30, 2019 are herewith stated:
“1. The QCOGA Medical Committee comprising a wide range of medical professionals have been in contact with the School authorities over allegations made. Based on their visit and discussions held, some students are affected by the flu with only 2 students in the sickbay as at Sept 30, 2019.
2. Our findings have shown no relation to any other illness and thus has no correlation with any water- related epidemic.
“3. A review of the register provided by the external Medical Doctor who consults for the school showed that as at Sept 30, 2019:
a. A total of 85 girls had been sent home since Queens College resumed on the September 14th, 15th and 21st. The first cases came in on September 24th and 25th. Of the 85 girls sent home, 24 have returned to school.
b. The symptoms observed and common to all the students taken to the sickbay include cough, runny nose and fever; some were low-grade, and some ran high; indications of upper respiratory tract infection.
c. There were no gastrointestinal symptoms and nothing to suggest that the conditions are related to anything in the water or in the food.
“4. We reiterate that based on our findings, there ARE NO new CASES OF ANY water-related epidemic as reported by the Punch newspapers.
“5. The Lagos State Ministry of Health Disease Surveillance team also visited the school for their own investigation and are in a position to confirm the actual situation at Sept 30, 2019.
The State team consisted of about ten personnel: all professionals from the Lagos State Ministry of Health Epidemiology Department, Disease Surveillance Notification and Environmental Health Department of the Yaba Local Council Development Area. We look forward to receiving the report” They said.