Botswana: Bizarre Disease Attacks Lempu JSS Pupils

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A doctor used to illustrate the story.

Salajwe — Authorities in Letlhakeng yesterday received reports that more than 120 pupils at Lempu Junior Secondary School in Salajwe were attacked by a disease, which causes numbness and weakness of the knees.

The affected pupils were reportedly unable to walk and some seemed to be hallucinating.

The deputy district commissioner, sub-council authorities and regional education office staff organised a team of doctors to attend to the pupils, who were mostly boarding girls.

Upon hearing reports of outbreak of the disease, parents converged at the school to find out what was happening to their children and they watched helplessly since they could do nothing to help, but await results of tests that were run by the doctors.

Doctors at the scene were not in position to give interviews by the time of writing the story.

When briefing the district authorities on what had transpired, Lempu school head, Ms Barulaganye Moseki, said the disease started with three pupils on Monday and they were rushed to a clinic, but the nurse could not establish what the problem was.

She said the situation became worse from Tuesday where 14 cases were reported and by Wednesday midday the number had risen to 45. Vehicles were dispatched to fetch pupils who were taken home by their parents and by Wednesday evening, the number had gone to more than 120.

The school head said the affected pupils were trembling from the waist down and they complained of pain on their knees and numbness of the legs.

Ms Moseki said some parents took their children to the clinic but could not receive any help since the nurses were unable to establish nature of the disease.

When addressing parents at the school on Wednesday, the deputy district commissioner, Ms Ikgopoleng Lekoape, said government would do everything possible to establish what the problem could be and find help for the children.

Ms Lekoape said it was important that parents who had taken their children from school should bring them back immediately so that they could be examined by the doctors and be referred for further medical examinations at Scottish Livingstone Hospital.

She added that it was important for the disease to be contained to avoid disaster in case it was contagious.

The district authorities took a decision to take all pupils to Scottish Livingstone Hospital in Molepolole for further medical examinations.

Ms Lekoape asked the parents to work with them so that their children could get the best help.

One of the parents, Mr Pogiso Ithuteng, thanked authorities for their timely intervention. He said it was sad to see their children in that condition but was hopeful that doctors would help.

Another parent, Ms Mmabolema Bathai, said she also took her daughter to the clinic but the clinic could not establish the problem, adding that they should be given their children so that they could take care of them.

Meanwhile Mr Jobe Kgothang said one of his daughters once had the same disease and it was through the intervention of church that she was assisted.

He said this called for prayer and he urged parents to come together for prayer.

Source : BOPA

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