As many as 44 students of Model Residential School in Rajpipla town of Narmada district were hospitalised late on Saturday evening after they complained of stomachache and fever. However, doctors on Sunday ruled out food poisoning and said they were down with viral infection.
The students, belonging to Class VIII to XII, were taken to general hospital in the town around 8 pm when the group of students complained about their health.
“A few of them complained of headache and stomachache while others had temperatures. A few others were down with diarrhea and were also vomiting,” in-charge principal of the school Rohit Machhi told The Indian Express over phone.
It is a residential school for tribal students and funded by tribal development department of the state government. The principal said 182 were studying in it.
However, doctors ruled out it to be a case of food poisoning but district administration conceded unhygienic conditioned prevailed on the school campus.
“Primarily, it does not seem to be a case of food poisoning. Majority of the students were down with fever due to viral infection. However, malaria has been ruled out. A few students had complications like diarrhae and vomiting,” in-charge Chief Medical Officer of the hospital, Dr Surendrasinh Gharia, said. He said 11 students had been discharged early Sunday morning while 19 more were to be released later in the evening. The remaining students were out of danger and they too would be discharged on Monday, he added.
Following the high number of hospitalisation, Rajpipla sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Vijay Kharadi and Chief District Health Officer (CDHO) Dr Gaurishankar Verma visited the school with a team of health officials.
“I think this is a case of reduced immunity. The students had complained of fever. However, it is possible they might have drunk contaminated water. Plus, the pits of latrines were partly opened and unhygienic condition prevailed in storage room of kitchen,” Dr Varma said.
However, other health officials said the students were taken ill due to food poisoning only. “They developed symptoms around six hours after they had their lunch. From the unhygienic condition prevailing in the kitchen of the school, we suspect this is a case of food poisoning. We have collected samples of food and water,” said an official.
The health officials and district authorities also held a meeting with students of the schools at around midnight on Saturday. “The students complained that sometimes they even found warms in their food,” a source said.
The principal said cooks were hired on contract basis and that school administration was responsible for buying provision for the kitchen.
Doctor on emergency service ‘looted’
A doctor working with the 108 emergency services was allegedly looted by two unidentified persons while travelling in Vadodara-bound bus from Bhavnagar early on Sunday morning.
Tarapur police in Anand district said Dr Rajesh Kapurai, a resident of Vadodara was on his way back home from Bhavnagar when he was looted of his mobile phone and a ring at a roadside hotel near Tarapur around 9 am by two unidentified men sitting beside him.
“The suspects mixed some sedative in a bottle of cold drinks made away with the valuables near Hotel Param,” a police official said.