The Lagos State government says it has commenced an investigation into the purported outbreak of an airborne flu in Queens College and other schools in the state.
In a statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs of the state, Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, the Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, was said to have disclosed this on Tuesday.
According to Abayomi, the investigative team comprises officials of State Epidemiology team, Primary Health Care Services and Environmental Health Department of Lagos Mainland Local Government.
While reviewing preliminary reports of the investigations conducted by the team, Abayomi explained that they identified what appears to be a sporadic increase in upper respiratory tract infections characterized by cough, cattarh, fever and weakness across some schools.
“The team has since visited Queens College and investigations are ongoing. 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”, he said.
He added that a walk-through inspection to other facilities in the school revealed that although environmental sanitation and water supply were optimal, they could be improved.
The Commissioner, therefore, stated that nasal swab samples will be collected from pupils for confirmation of the cause of the illness.
He, however, appealed 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 even as they await the comprehensive report of the investigation.
“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.
Speaking further, he advised all schools in Lagos State, either day or boarding to adopt basic precautionary measures against diseases and illnesses by teaching and ensuring good hand washing practices, promoting personal hygiene and providing adequate hand washing points within the school premises.
“They must also commence and continue to raise awareness about respiratory etiquette such as covering of mouth with clean hands or handkerchiefs when coughing or sneezing, and washing hands immediately after.
“School management must also hold food handlers and vendors to the highest health and hygiene check protocols as stipulated in the law, and practiced world over”, the Commissioner posited.
He also advised parents not to send their children to school if they have features of an upper respiratory tract infection such as a cold, or flu-like symptoms but rather have a doctor review them
He appealed to School authorities as well as citizens to report suspected case(s) of any strange illnesses and diseases to the nearest Public Health Facility or the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) their local government area or to the Directorate of Disease Control in the Ministry of Health through the following lines: 08023169485, 08023377487.