Forty-nine students from Fresh Creek, Andros, were believed to be poisoned by carbon monoxide yesterday during their ride to school, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said.
According to police, the students were being transported from Cargill Creek to Central Andros School when smoke from the exhaust entered the cabin of the bus.
Sands said the students then went to school where they began to fall ill. Two students lost consciousness and one student suffered from a seizure.
The students were taken to a clinic in Fresh Creek and were later transported to New Providence for further medical attention.
“A number of those students started developing very serious symptoms of dizziness, chest pain,” Sands said.
“Some were going in and out of consciousness. These are symptoms typically thought to be due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Based on that clinical assessment, the treatment is to remove…persons from the source of the carbon monoxide and then to treat them with oxygen.
“Given the fact that we have  affected children, we have just about exhausted all of the oxygen at Fresh Creek, even though we’re trying to bring additional supplies in. We have therefore made a decision, out of an abundance of caution, to bring these children and one guardian or parent to New Providence for appropriate management, and we have been mobilizing the appropriate assets.”
Sands said all of the students were improving by yesterday afternoon.
“At this point, the children have improved,” he said.
“There has been no loss of life, but we need to make sure that they are all well. I am pleased to say that based on the interim reports, the children are getting better. None of them are deteriorating.”
The students ranged from ages 10 to 17. Sands initially said that some 39 students were affected. But some students, who went home, started to display similar symptoms, he said. The students at the back of the bus appeared to be the ones affected the most, Sands added.
The bus driver did not display any symptoms but he was expected to come to New Providence for a medical examination.