Kampala-The Education and Health ministries tested and discovered an outbreak of influenza A but not covid-19 among learners. The children have symptoms almost similar to those of covid 19.
According to the ministries, out of the 439 learners they tested who were reported to have symptoms like those of covid-19 from Wakiso district, 198 and of them 58 tested positive for influenza A and two tested positive for influenza B.
Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaduccu, the state minister of primary education explains that her ministry working together with the health ministry has continued following the trends across the country as several districts report the same symptoms of Flu, cough, fever, joint pain, and headache as common symptoms.
Dr. Kaduccu explains that this should not worry the public as it is not a unique finding and both ministries will continue to investigate and respond accordingly to all the upper respiratory infections to avoid potential misdiagnosis of covid-19 in the schools.
Influenza is an acute viral respiratory disease with symptoms like fever, headache, painful throat, joint pain, and cough. It is transmitted through respiratory contact. Human influenza is caused by the influenza viruses classified into three main types, influenza A, B, and C.
With a school-based surveillance system, Dr. Kaduccu says they will be able to continue monitoring and managing the situation.
According to Dr. Kaduccu, from their findings, there were no serious symptoms of covid-19 like loss of smell, taste, acute respiratory distress, and no respiratory failure.
She says that records over the years from the ministry of health show that influenza A follows a recurring pattern that normally occurs in the months of February and March. According to Dr.Kaduccu, the peak of the clusters is not yet been over as it always comes at the end of March.
Dr. Jesca Nsungwa, the commissioner in charge of schools at the ministry of health, Influenza A being a virus is stronger than the usual flu, it affects all organs of the body especially when it comes to infants, children below five years, and the elderly people above 65 years.
According to Dr.Nsungwa, this explains why the most affected category of learners in the school is the very younger in the lower classes compared to the older learners in the upper classes.
She says the virus has no cure and parents should not be confused however, they encourage both the schools and parents to continue treating the symptoms like pain, flu, fever, headache by using pain killers, deworming the children, giving iron tablets, and providing a lot of water.
Meanwhile, the ministry of education says that they do not intend to close any school because of influenza, but has cautioned schools to strongly implement the Standard Operating Procedures –SOPs especially sanitation and hygiene, hand washing, avoiding crowding of learners, using masks, early reporting of cases, utilizing double shifts for the schools with crowded numbers.
The ministry also discouraged boarding schools from sending learners back home but instead make use of the sickbays to avoid spreading the virus in communities.
The News Editor ,Reporter at Kagadi Kibaale community Radio