GASTROENTERITIS BREAKOUT AMONG STUDENTS: COMPSSA CAFETERIA SHUT DOWN by kemisola Agoyi

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In the past 2 days, over 10 students of the college of medicine (CMUL) have been reportedly admitted in the Accident and Emergency section of the hospital (LUTH) and the culprit diagnoses was same to all – gastroenteritis; serious stomach upset and purging, might include vomiting from suspected food poisoning.

The occurrence of the epidemic among the students in the college got the attention of the authorities and the student bodies (COMPSSA, AMSUL) and various actions and reactions have been triggered. Due to the peculiarities of the compound; housing both the college and teaching hospital (CMUL/LUTH), we have a common COMPSSA Cafeteria, where we all get our food. Although COMPSSA Cafeteria is known for its “hotness” due to bad ventilation but these recent developments of outbreak made heads turn instantly.

The first call of action was to identify the offending agent causing the epidemic, trace the source to the vendor responsible for it and do a hygiene check to where he/she prepares the food they bring to sell at the cafeteria (for those vendors that do “evening shift” selling and does not prepare the food in the school compound but bring it from outside the compound), and the trip to one of the vendor’s kitchen at Ojuelegba showed that the place was like a corridor with soakaways around and not hygienic as reported by COMPSSA executives that went on the visit. After this revelation, the food stand – TFK – has been officially banned from selling food in the cafeteria until further notice, while investigation is still on-going on some other obvious ones and those involved or found linked to the epidemic would be banned and locked down too.

Investigators have been sighted at COMPSSA, as it is a case of public health importance and some of the reactions gotten was a “periodic food handlers test” for the vendors, also for the students admitted at the Accident and Emergency centre in LUTH, the college consultants have been going round to review their cases.

We do hope this occurrence will be nipped by the bud, never to reoccur again (as few cases have been seen over the space of one month), while we expect that our various vendors (both morning and evening shift sellers in and outside the COMPSSA building cafeteria) will be properly trained and scrutinized for their jobs, also our cafeteria and kitchens (for the vendor and students) should be well structured, furnished, spaced with clean water supply and proper drainage to carry out hygienic food preparation and consumption.

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