The Lagos State Government on Tuesday said it has commenced investigation into the alleged outbreak of an air-borne, flu-like illnesses among students of Queens College.
In a statement on Tuesday, the state Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi, said preliminary investigations had revealed “a sporadic increase in upper respiratory tract infection, characterised by cough, catarrh, fever and weakness.”
Abayomi said a team comprising officials of the state epidemiology team, primary healthcare services and environmental health department of Lagos Mainland Local Government was dispatched to unravel the cause of the pupils’ illnesses. He said they were also investigating other schools in the state.
He said, “Findings, according to the review of health records in the school’s sick bay, revealed that 89 students presented to the clinic with influenza-like illnesses.” Others he said left the school on their own volition.
The commissioner added that an inspection of other facilities in the school revealed that environmental sanitation and water supply were optimal, but could be improved on.
He noted that the incidence was not an outbreak, but the “excess number of cases needed to be investigated.”
Abayomi said nasal swab samples would be collected from pupils for confirmation of the cause of the illness.
“As we await a comprehensive report of the investigation being conducted, I would like to appeal to stakeholders of Queen’s 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,” the commissioner added.
He urged parents not to send their children to school if they had features of upper respiratory tract infection such as cold or flu-like symptoms, adding that a doctor must review them.
Abayomi advised schools in the state to adopt precautionary measures against diseases and illnesses by ensuring good hand-washing practices and personal hygiene.
“The school management must also hold food handlers and vendors to the highest health and hygiene check protocols as stipulated in the law, and practised world over,” the commissioner added.
He advised that high standards of sanitation within the school and its surroundings should be maintained.