Outbreak of illness in schools in Angola
15 August 2011 - An outbreak of an unknown illness has been reported among children and students in schools in Angola. In most cases, the illness has occurred suddenly, followed by the resolution of symptoms within a few hours. No deaths have been reported.
The typical symptoms reported include: vomiting, headache, sore throat, eye irritation, coughing, breathing difficulties and fainting in some cases. The outbreaks have been reported in schools of the capital, Luanda, and in a number of other provinces.
Although the cause of these outbreaks still remains unknown, this may be related to exposure to irritant chemicals. WHO has sent a team to Angola to assist the Government in investigating these outbreaks and to suggest measures for preventing further occurrences.
The WHO team includes an epidemiologist, laboratory specialists and a pharmacologist/toxicologist who are providing technical support to the national intersectoral committee created for this purpose.
This is complex work and WHO is consulting with experts and specialized institutions from other countries to explore ideas on appropriate lines of investigation.