By Muhammad Auwal
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, says the state has commenced an investigation into the outbreak of an air-borne-flu-like illness among some of the students of Queen’s College and other schools in the state.
He told newsmen in Lagos that an investigative team had been set up by the ministry and dispatched to various schools in the state to unravel the cause of the illness.
Prof. Abayomi said that the team comprises officials from the State Epidemiology team, Primary Health Care Services and Environmental Health Department of Lagos Mainland Local Government.
The commissioner added that the preliminary reports from the investigations conducted by the team had identified what appears to be a sporadic increase in upper respiratory tract infections characterised by cough, catarrh, fever and weakness across some schools.
“The team has since visited Queen’s College and investigations are ongoing. 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,” he said.
He added that an inspection to other facilities in the school revealed that environmental sanitation and water supply are optimal but could be improved upon.
The commissioner noted that the incidences were not an outbreak of any sort but an excess number of cases that needed to be investigated.
Abayomi also said that nasal swab samples would be collected from the pupils for confirmation of the cause of the illness.
“As we await the comprehensive report of the investigation being conducted, I will like to appeal to the 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 it seems to be subsiding. We will give necessary updates as the assessment and investigation progress,” Abayomi said.
He advised all schools in the state, either day or boarding, to adopt basic precautionary measures against diseases and illnesses by teaching and ensuring good hand washing practice.
He also urged them to promote personal hygiene and provide adequate hand washing points within the school premises.
Abayomi also advised school authorities to ensure that high standards of sanitation within the schools and their surroundings should be maintained.
He said that there was the need for pupils to avoid sharing personal items such as spoons, handkerchiefs, toothbrushes with one another .
He appealed to school authorities as well as citizens to report suspected cases of any strange illnesses and diseases to the nearest public health facility or the medical officers of health in their local government areas.
The commissioner said that reports should also be sent to the Directorate of Disease Control in the Ministry of Health through the following lines: 08023169485 and 08023377487.