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5 Oct, 2023 11:39

Kenya closes school over mysterious disease outbreak

Authorities say the illness has afflicted over 95 students, leaving most of them unable to walk
Kenya closes school over mysterious disease outbreak

Kenyan authorities announced the temporary closure of a high school in the west of the country on Wednesday after dozens of students were hospitalized due to an unknown illness, according to local media.

Reports and footage shared on social media suggest the majority of the affected students at St. Theresa’s Eregi Girls High School in Western Kakamega County were partially paralyzed by the disease and were unable to walk.

The high school administration and county government officials reportedly agreed to allow learners in levels one through three to take a one-week break while investigations into the outbreak continue.

Form 1, 2, and 3 students were allowed to break temporarily and are expected to report back next week once the situation has been carefully assessed and necessary measures put in place to prevent any recurrence of a similar situation,” the Kakamega regional government said in a statement.

The decision to partially close the school came after students went on the rampage, vandalizing government property, while some parents insisted on bringing their children home, the Daily Nation newspaper reported.

However, during a visit to the school on Tuesday, a senior Education Ministry official assured worried parents that the situation was being managed, and that regular classes would continue for other students who are preparing for their final national examination later this month.

The education department, county government, and public health department are committed to ensuring the children receive appropriate treatment,” Jared Obiero, the regional director of education, was quoted by Africanews as saying.

On Wednesday, Kakamega County Executive Committee Member for Education Bonface Okoth told the media that the outbreak had resulted in more than 95 students being admitted to the hospital.

He said blood, urine, and stool samples from the affected students had been sent to the Kenya Medical Research Institute’s laboratories in Nairobi and Kisumu for further analysis.

A medical officer at a local hospital told the Kenyan Star news agency that preliminary laboratory tests found that the victims had “elevated electrolytes.” An electrolyte imbalance is said to occur when the mineral levels in the body are either excessively high or abnormally low, often caused by a loss of bodily fluids.