A school has been plunged into chaos after dozens of students became infected with a mysterious limb-paralysing disease.
Some 95 students at St Theresa's Eregi Girls' High School in western Kenya had succumbed to the infection as of last night (Wednesday, October 4) after the number in cases rose by 33 overnight. The pupils have all been hospitalised after many were left without the use of their legs, and the school has now been closed until further notice.
But before shutting its doors some parents at the school insisted on coming to pick up their children – sending other pupils into a frenzy. Jared Obiero, the Western Region Director of Education, said concerned carers weren't happy with the prospect of their daughters being exposed to the disease and rushed to the premises to take them home.
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This prompted some students to start rioting with some even throwing stones at government officials who were at the school. "Some of our vehicles’ window panes were destroyed and we allowed parents who wanted to take their children home to sign in commitment," Mr Obiero explained.
Kakamega County Director of Medical Services Dr Steven Wander said the mystery disease could threaten to wipe out entire families if authorities couldn't bring it under control. "We need to find out what is ailing our girls and discover its cause before we can allow the remaining students to go back home and mingle with their other siblings," he explained.
"It will be disastrous if we all the students to go home when the disease is infectious."
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Authorities have now made the call to close the school indefinitely in a bid to stop the spread of infection. The school issued a statement saying the closure, which affects hundreds of pupils, will be lifted once the situation has been assessed and necessary measures have been put in place.
Health officials have also confirmed blood samples from students with the disease have been sent to labs at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in a bid to understand what has caused the unusual symptoms. It is also hoped the results of the tests will help treat the existing patients.
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