Ten people have been hospitalised and one other confirmed dead from a mystery ailment that has hit Boji-Boji Owa, Agbor, Ika North East local government area of Delta State.
The sickness unfortunately is ravaging students of Mary Mount College where five cases of the strange ailment manifested as feats/convulsion, (seizure) in conscious persons was reported.
LEADERSHIP findings at the state Ministry of Health, Asaba, confirmed that the four surviving cases are being managed in government owned hospitals within the state while the school has been temporarily shut down by the Catholic diocese to allow for investigation into the oubreak.
Further investigation revealed that one of the affected students had died weeks ago after her parents took her to hospital for treatment. Four other students out of the 10 were taken to St John’s hospital in Agbor, within the state, while the parents of the other students took their children to different hospitals.
Sister Kauna Yakubu Ola of Mary Mount College, Agbor and School Secretary, Mrs Rita Ofuasia, confirmed the development to our correspondent. The school management said it immediately informed the parents and officials of the Ministry of Health when it noticed the strange development.
The school suspects a gas plant close to its premises may be responsible for the ailment. The officials said they had long pleaded with owner of the plant to relocate it for the sake of the health of residents within the area.
Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education Mr Augustine Oghoro said his ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of Health to unearth the cause and symptoms of the sickness which the affected students exhibited to enable the state epidemiologists examine its nature and solution to it.
She urged the representatives of the college to furnish the committee on the emergence of the outbreak of the ailment with the details of the students, names of their parents and contacts so that they could be reached to know what the likely observations they noticed in their children.
“The National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has been notified and samples sent to the National Reference Laboratory, (NRL), Abuja for detailed analysis. Members of the public should not panic as government is already on top of the matter and cases of this nature should be reported to the nearest government owned hospital. The state government is irrevocably committed to ensuring that every learning environment is healthy for children and teachers,” Oghoro said.
He however urged the emergency committee comprising a representative of ministries of education and health and management of the school and the gas plant as well as visit and interact with the parents of the affected students.