PARLIAMENT heard yesterday that the mystery disease that broke out at the National Resources Development College (NRDC) was the Influenza H3N2 virus, a non-life threatening infection that is spread from person to person.
Health Minister Joseph Kasonde assured the nation that the infection posed no danger to the students and members of staff at NRDC.
In his ministerial statement in Parliament, Dr Kasonde urged the college to continue operating normally.
He said the Ministry of Health would continue to monitor the situation at the institution.
“Mr Speaker, following this report from Levy Mwanawasa Hospital, the Ministry of Health immediately constituted a team of experts to investigate the outbreak.
‘‘The team went to NRDC and screened a total of 78 students,” Dr Kasonde said.
He said many of the students screened presented flu-like symptoms which included runny nose, sore throat, irritation and redness of eyes, diarrhoea, fever, headache and general body pains and weakness.
“Mr. Speaker, biological samples including blood, stool and throat swabs were collected from 48 students for further analysis, and these were analyzed,” Dr Kasonde said.
He said initial examination of 140 students at Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital, indicated that all had normal vital signs.
Dr Kasonde said a total of 44 out of the 140 students had blood collected for investigations which included full blood count and malaria examination.
“The results were all within the normal range,” Dr Kasonde said.
He said the Ministry of Health further carried out an inspection of the hostels, kitchen and the dining areas.
“Water and food samples which included raw beef, milk and cooked chicken were collected for laboratory analysis. In addition, veterinary experts carried out a survey of animals in the institution,” Dr Kasonde said .
He said blood and stool specimens were collected from the animals on November 11, 2015 and forwarded to Balmoral Research Centre for further examination.
“Mr Speaker, laboratory tests on the sample collected from the
students have confirmed that the current outbreak at NRDC is due to
Influenza H3N2 virus,” Dr Kasonde said. He said the virus had been shown to be in circulation around the country.
“It is common to have outbreaks of Influenza in schools and colleges, as is the case at NRDC, because you have a number of people gathered in one place,” Dr Kasonde said.