By Peter Duru
Benue State Government has directed the immediate shutdown of Vaatia College, a Makurdi- based boarding Secondary School, following the outbreak of a strange disease in the institution.
The directive came after five students of the school came down with the ailment and were hospitalized in public and private hospitals in Makurdi.
Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Joseph Ngbea who confirmed the development to newsmen Monday in Makurdi said the effected five students were in stable condition while investigation into the ailment was on.
The Commissioner who described the ailment as ‘Orepa syndrome” explained that the students experienced parasis or slight form of paralysis adding that the school was shut to check further spread of the diseases.
According to him, “five students were affected, three of them are at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, BSUTH. One of them is doing well while two others are at Madonna Hospital Makurdi (a private hospital). You know that Nigeria is in the process of certification of polio free, and we saw that some students were having parasis instead of paralysis. (Not complete paralysis) But they are actually doing well.
“Since there is no paralysis, polio is completely ruled out. So it is called Orepa syndrome, we are trying to look at that, they are being treated for now and there is no diagnosis at the teaching hospital.”
When asked if the disease is contagious, the Commissioner said: “That is why we shut down the school, we want to look into the biology of the virus in order to know if is contagious.
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“So after looking at the biology of the disease we will be able to advise the school appropriately. You know that the students are many,” Dr. Ngbea said.
Meanwhile it was gathered that in compliance with the directive from the state government, the management of school had sent out notice to parents and guardians to pick up their children and wards.
When Vanguard visited the school Monday, parents were seen picking up their children but no management staff was available to speak on the matter as they were said to be in a meeting.