File picture: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters

Johannesburg - Twenty-eight pupils at a school in Ekurhuleni received ARV treatment after being pricked with syringes brought by a fellow classmate, the Department of Education said on Wednesday.

The incident reportedly happened at Mooifontein Primary in Kempton Park on Friday, September 15. 

According to the Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson Steve Mabona, the Grade 4 pupil brought the syringes to class after taking her sister's bag to school with her.

"According to the girl's family, she only realised when she was in class that there were needless in the bag," Mabona said.

"She and two friends then allegedly started injecting fellow pupils."

Mabona confirmed that after the school discovered what happened, they informed the parents of the 28 pupils seek medical treatment for their children.

Additionally, as a precautionary measure, the pupils were given ARVs or Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) treatment. 

"Unfortunately, some learners reacted negatively to medication by vomiting, while others experienced running stomach," he said.

It was later discovered that the needles belonged to a family member of a grade 4 pupil who is using them for hormonal reasons. 

Mabona added that the syringes have since been sent to the laboratory for tests.

The department also confirmed that the process to provide counselling to all the affected pupils has commenced and would continue until the reintegration process has been concluded.

"The SGB has commenced with a disciplinary process against the perpetrators and a police case has been opened against the owner of the syringes," he confirmed. 

Police have since said hat no case has been opened, despite the department's claims.