About one hundred and seventy students of St. Martin’s Senior High School at Adoagyeri, near Nsawam in the Akuapem South District of the Eastern Region have been affected by the H1N1 influenza (swine flu).

Report says the symptoms of the disease were first detected on Sunday 15th of May, 2010 and since then, the number keeps increasing.

A student of the school told Asempa News that they were quarantined after the detection in a bungalow to prevent the spread.

“The disease was detected last Sunday and we reported to our teachers. The next day, they called health authorities from the Ghana Health Service and the students were put in empty bungalows”.

Asked why he came home, the student said he detected the symptoms and so decided to come home and see his doctor, but had not contracted the disease.

Asempa FM’s reporter, Michael Oppong reports from the school that most of the students were seen with their mouths covered with handkerchiefs for fear of being infected with the disease.

Michael who visited the school during entertainment said “You would see ten out of fifty students covering their mouths with handkerchiefs. I asked them and they said they were protecting themselves from the swine flu.”

The Head of Language Department of the School, Gabriel Dzededzi, explained that even though the disease has been detected in the school, it is not as being portrayed in the media as an outbreak.

“The samples were taking to the Noguchi and they tested positive. They were about forty-eight in number, but as I am talking now, thirty-six of them have been treated, the dormitories have been fumigated and have gone back,” he explained.

He said they have about twelve of them who were being treated at Koforidua Government Hospital as at Saturday.

Asked why the school authorities do not want parents of the students to know about the infections, Mr. Dzededzi explained that, “it was not the school that is preventing the parents. It is an advised from the health team from Koforidua and Nsawam.”

The Eastern Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Erasmus Adongo, confirming the over one hundred and seventy cases to Asempa FM said even though the disease keeps spreading, health authorities are on top of it.

“At the time we detected the disease, we had about seventy of them affected, but as at yesterday (Friday), the total number had gone to one hundred and thirty-seven, but not all of them are in the isolation, some have been discharged”.

Dr. Adongo said closing the school would not solve the problem as the students would rather spread the disease in their various communities.

“What we have done so far is that we have met with the school authorities to ensure all sporting activities are suspended for the meantime. From our investigations, the disease started spreading during a quiz competition in the school and they have a lineup of these activities so we have asked them to stop.”

He added that they have also asked all the nearby schools and districts to be on the look-out for possible outbreak of the diseases.

Dr. Adongo therefore called on parents of these students not to panic since the GHS is on top of it.

Story by Kwaku Antwi-Otoo/Asempa FM/Ghana