Medical and education officials in two districts kilometers far apart are struggling to establish a strange illness attacking only girls’ schools.
In the past two weeks, girls at Groupe Scolaire Rambura in Nyabihu district, western province, began complaining of painful aching from the knees. One by one, they could not walk as their knees were paralyzed.
Within days, more than 20 girls were affected. Since they cannot do anything on their own, the girls are carried around by their peers.
Last week, the New Explorers Girls Academy (NEGA) in Bugesera district, eastern province, also reported an illness with similar symptoms like that in Nyabihu district.
At NEGA school, 24 girls are affected by this past weekend.
However, there is no connection between the two schools.
NEGA is a private boarding school owned and sponsored by an international non-governmental organization called DIRECT AID from Kuwait.
Groupe Scolaire Rambura is a government school.
Major Dr Emmanuel Kayitare, director of Shyira Hospital in Nyabihu district, said a team from the hospital visited Rambura secondary school but found no unusual disease.
He however suggested that the illness could be mental and also a result of poor feeding.
“The visiting team found no known disease. We have been giving the girls painkillers as we investigate the issue further,” said Dr Kayitare.
There has been no official central government intervention so far.