Lagos state government advises indefinite closure of Queen’s College over “killer” water

Two JSS students, Vivian Osuiniyi and Bithia Itulua, have died as a result of the contaminated water in the school.

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The Lagos State Government has advised that girls-only school, Queen’s College, Yaba be closed indefinitely.

The decision comes after two students of the school died as a result of the consumption of contaminated water. Several others have been hospitalised according to reports.

Earlier reports reveal that no fewer than 50 students were admitted at the school’s sickbay after eating spaghetti and drinking water in the refectory.

The water system in the school was discovered to have been polluted.

Parents had threatened to take legal action against the school’s authorities, before it was shut for two weeks to enable a health team to conduct adequate investigation into the incident.

The state government has issued a statement suspending all academic activities in the school indefinitely.

Dr. Jide Idris, the state Commissioner for Health said on Thursday that the water used in preparing the students’ meals was unsafe with bacterial infections.

He said a total of 1,222 students visited the school’s clinic since the illness broke out on January 16, 2017. The students had been admitted on accounts of abdominal pain, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Of 16 students who were admitted in various hospitals, Idris said 9 had been discharged, 2 dead, one was still admitted at LASUTH, while 3 others were still on admission at LUTH, Idi Araba.

Read statement from the ministry:

“According to the commissioner, the recommendation (for suspension of resumption) is necessary to ensure that all the sources of contaminants in the school, which had been causing the death of students, are properly handled.

“Idris said the source of the problem is the contaminated water. Water samples from six sources on the school premises were collected and analysed at the Drug Quality Control Laboratory of the Lagos State Ministry of Health in the Lagos  State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.

“Other  water samples from 10 sources were also collected and analysed at the Microbiology Department of LUTH, Idi-Araba. The results from the two laboratories showed high bacterial content in the water samples from the kitchen behind the dining hall and Queen’s Delight, the school’s water factory. The bacteria range from Coliforms, Escherichia Coli, Salmonella, Klebsiella ozoana and Aeromonas hydrophila.

“Specimens collected from 40 kitchen workers revealed that cysts of Entamoeba histolytica were isolated in the stool of 23 food handlers; Salmonella Paratyphi, the causative agent of Typhoid Fever, was also isolated from three food handlers.

“All these together imply a common source outbreak, showing repeated or continuous infection from exposure to the infectious agent. Findings from the investigations were consistent with Enteric Fever. The infection was most likely spread through contaminated water sources and infection by food handlers.”

Parents fear the death toll may rise if proper action is not taken against the school’s authorities.

The school’s principal at the time of the outbreak, Dr Lami Amodu, had been transferred to another school in Edo State and replaced with Mrs. Bola Are.

Some parents said they had paid N20,000 as PTA levy for the employment of more sanitation workers to clean the water tanks in the school.

Queen’s College will remain closed indefinitely until the water system is properly treated, the state government has said.

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