Leprosy might have afflicted students in Jurupa Valley, California. Some parents refused to send their children to school on Tuesday after receiving a warning from the Jurupa Unified School District about two possible cases of leprosy affecting students at Indian Hills Elementary School.
It is unclear whether the students are related to each other.
Barbara Cole, the director of disease control for Riverside County, said a school nurse notified the health department of the rare disease on Friday, but it could take weeks to get tests results back to confirm whether the children indeed have leprosy.
“We have not idenfied any risk at the school and it’s very difficult to transmit to others,” said Cole.
Leprosy is associated with disfiguring skin sores and peeling skin.
The disease is spread through mucus after having close and repeated contact with an infected person. It is easily treatable with antibiotics, even though most of the population is immune to it.
Jurupa Valley Unified Superintendent Elliott Duchon says classrooms have been decontaminated and the students in question are not in school.
“For parents, they need to make a decision for their children but we’re not recommending any precautions,” said Duchon. “There is not a risk at this time.”
The investigation is ongoing.