SINGAPORE - It started off as a seemingly normal freshman orientation camp at Nanyang Business School in Nanyang Technological University (NTU). But the annual camp, which started on Monday and was due to end of Friday, was cancelled abruptly on Wednesday after four freshmen suffered seizures.
About 450 freshmen were at the camp.
The New Paper understands that the seizures happened on four separate occasions over three days. The four affected freshmen were taken to hospital, where they were warded.
Except for one who had an eye infection, the rest of the undergraduates have been discharged.
Mr Oliver Foo, 23, the camp's chairman, told TNP: "On our part, we were very shocked as we did not expect anyone to have seizures suddenly, and we have no idea how it happened.
"We decided to call off the camp early to prevent more such cases from happening again." The third-year accountancy student added: "I feel bad for the freshmen for not letting them have the full camp experience."
The camp takes place in different parts of Singapore, including Sentosa, and on campus. The freshmen play different ice-breaker games at each station, both indoor and outdoor, to bond and get to know each other better.
The first seizure took place at night when the freshman was collecting his bag in school, while the second freshman had a seizure at the swimming pool area in NTU.
The third incident happened when the student was having lunch on Sentosa, and the fourth at a chalet in Aloha Changi.
The cause of the seizures is not known and is still being investigated, said Associate Professor Low Kin Yew, Associate Dean (Undergraduate Academic) from Nanyang Business School.
He added: "The planned camp activities were not overly strenuous physically and were scheduled to end by about 11pm each night. "The cause of seizures can vary from person to person. It is possible that fatigue during the camp or even a lack of adequate sleep accumulating over the World Cup period could have added to it."
He said his colleague had spoken to the students and some of their parents.
"We are happy that they are recovering and doing well," he added.
Participants of the camp were tight-lipped about the details. But freshman Jesslyn Yim told TNP that she saw one of the incidents.
She said: "We were having lunch and he suddenly suffered a seizure. The other guys went to help him immediately."
An orientation group leader of the camp, who wanted to be known only as Edwin, said of the camp cancellation: "Ultimately, the safety and welfare of our participants are the most important to us."
Doctors TNP spoke to said seizure is one of the symptoms of heat stroke or exhaustion.
Dr Madeleine Chew, managing director of MW Medical, said: "For four of the undergraduates to be having seizures, it is likely to be environmental. I can only hazard a guess that it is likely heat exhaustion. For outdoor events, we encourage them to take plenty of water before and after events."
Dr Clarence Yeo, a general practitioner at Killiney Family and Wellness Clinic, added: "Over-exerting or extreme temperatures can lead to seizures. If the students were gradually exposed to the hot weather, the risk of seizure can be minimised. If not, it can result in heat stroke."
Hotter days ahead, says NEA
Hotter days ahead, says NEA
Expect slightly hazy and warmer conditions in the next fortnight, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said in its weather outlook report for July 16 to 31.
"Periods of consecutive dry days are common during the Southwest Monsoon season. In the next fortnight, Singapore could experience slightly hazy conditions on a few days," it said.
"And with strong daytime heating and drier weather conditions expected in the region, a few warm days with maximum daytime temperature of around 34 deg C can be expected."
NEA said that short-duration thundery showers can be expected on three to four days in the late mornings and afternoons. And thundery showers with gusty winds can also be expected on one to two days in the predawn hours and morning.
But rainfall for the month is expected to be average.
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