Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Chaos erupted when more than 50 pupils at Windsor Secondary School in Ladysmith suddenly fell ill and fainted during the morning assembly yesterday.

An emergency rescue services team and teachers worked tirelessly to help the children who had suffered from dizzy spells and fits while others fainted. The school, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, was forced to close when the situation became worse.

"The pupils exhibited symptoms of dizziness, had difficulty breathing, fainted and in some cases had fits," said one teacher.

Police spokesperson Captain Charmaine Struwig said police were called to the school to help the sick pupils.

"It has not yet been established what the problem was at the school that had resulted in the children falling sick.

Struwig said all sick pupils were rushed to the Ladysmith Provincial Hospital for treatment.

"Police offered support to the medical rescue team in terms of first aid.

"Blood tests will be conducted to determine the source of the problem," she said.

She said none of the pupils were in a serious condition.

Provincial department of education spokesperson Mbali Thusi said female pupils started screaming.

"Others fainted after displaying symptoms of what appeared to be fits.

"Pupils were taken to hospital where they received medical attention and were discharged."

Health officials could not explain what could have caused the illness.

Thusi said the district office had since called for an urgent meeting.

She said classes had been suspended and were expected to resume on Monday.