The Benue State government has shut down a secondary school, Vaatia College, in Makurdi, the state capital following the outbreak of a strange illness.
At least three students were said to be down with paresis (partial paralysis), while some have been hospitalised at Madonna Hospital, a private clinic in the state.
Joseph Ngbea, the state Commissioner for Health and Human Services, who confirmed the outbreak said some of the students have been discharged while others are still hospitalised.
“The report of the unknown disease got to me through my Director of Public Health and we went to the Teaching Hospital where three of the students were on admission and what we saw, there was no paralysis. What we saw was Parasis – weakness of the limbs.
“Many of them were walking with a wobbling gait. We looked at the possible causes because this country is almost certified free of Poliomyelitis.
“So, when we go there, it was confirmed that it was not Poliomyelitis. What we are looking at is ‘Golemba Syndrome’. It is a weakness that starts from the limbs upwards,” he said.
According to the commissioner, the cause of the illness is multifactorial and could be a result of bacterial, fungal, or viral infection.
He, however, allayed the fears of a possible spread of the disease to other schools, considering that students of the college who may have siblings at other schools have been sent back to their families as the school remains closed.