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Rash of illnesses at St Kitts school has parents worried
Published on March 5, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

basseterre_hs.jpg
Students at Basseterre High School in St Kitts

By Ken Richards

BASSETERRE St Kitts (WINN) -- At least one parent calling for prompt action to address the health problem affecting students and teachers at the Basseterre High School, says the situation is proving costly for him.

Newrish Nital told Winn FM’s The Bigger Picture that he was convinced that the source of his daughter’s illness was the Basseterre High School, despite the skepticism being expressed by the ministry of education and the country’s chief medical officer.

“I’m spending my money on her, I have spent close to (EC)$3,000 on her already,” Nital said while urging the authorities to take action to address the problem. One affected teacher has gone on the record on social network expressing the view that while Basseterre High was repainted and some work done there, “that doesn’t negate the fact that more persons are becoming ill”.

She says teachers and students alike are breaking out in rashes, and she has posted a photo to support that position. Meanwhile dermatologist Thelma Phillip Browne, who the authorities appear to be accusing of politicizing the issue, insists that there is urgent need to tackle the problem head on. She believes fungal spores are responsible for the rash of symptoms being experienced by students and teacher alike.

Browne gave an example of one student patient whose rashes gave her cause for concern.

“And she had these rashes in her head, looked like fungus. That caused me a little bit of consternation, because whereas I see lots of children with primary school age with fungi in the scalp you hardly ever see it in children of secondary school age or adults,” she explained.

According to the doctor, the teenager would get better when she was away from school during scheduled holiday periods.

School principal Carlene Henry Morton also believes that there is a real health problem at Basseterre High requiring prompt attention.

She reports being concerned “that we have clusters of students and teachers who are complaining about basically the same things, and I think that that would raise an eyebrow in just about any institution”.

“We have teachers who are complaining of itching, burning, stinging, some have sores in the mouth,” she told WINN FM’s The Bigger Picture.

According to the principal, there have also been, among other things, cases of red rashes on the skin, light-headedness and dizziness.

Republished with permission of West Indies News Network
 
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