A lice outbreak scare at Alex school

There is a suspected outbreak of lice infestation in one of the schools in Alexandra.

From a rodent infestation that continues to plague Alexandra now to a suspected outbreak of lice.

The Johannesburg Health District confirmed that there is a suspected lice outbreak in one of the schools. An outbreak task team learnt about this situation after it was reported by the school principal to the Integrated School Health Programme.
The school, whose name is being withheld, has a total of 1 532 learners of which 765 are boys and 767 are girls, with a staff complement of 49.

Spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Health Sandile Gwayi said the Johannesburg District Outbreak Response Team in conjunction with their provincial colleagues, visited the school on April 15, for a further investigation of the matter.
As the team arrived at this school, Gwayi said the school principal told them on April 3, when schools re-opened, one of the Grade 1 learners had complained of body itchiness.

When the class teacher examined the leaner, she noticed white insects crawling on the shirt collar and in the hair, Gwayi said, and she immediately suspected it was lice, and thereafter the parent was called and advised to take the leaner to the nearest clinic.

The following day [April 4], Gwayi said a second learner from the same grade complained of similar symptoms. The teacher called the parent and advised the second parent to also take the child to a local clinic.

On the third day [April 5], the second learner was reportedly diagnosed with a body rash at the clinic. By April 9, 14 learners had reported similar symptoms and 10 of them were seen at the 4th Avenue Clinic. The total cumulative number of cases is currently standing at 31, Gwayi added.

Gwayi said the departmental group then decided to split themselves into two groups so that they could visit five households of the affected learners, to assess the environment and also educate parents on the prevention and treatment of lice.
The other team decided to be proactive and educate patients at the 4th Avenue Clinic as the clinic is closer to the affected school about lice, symptoms, and preventative measures.

For the past two days [April 16 and 17], Gwayi said the teams conducted health hygiene education to teachers and parents of the concerned learners which was held at the nearest clinic.
Gwayi said a ward-based outreach team of health promoters will conduct home visits to further investigate and also fumigate the affected school.

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