Primary school children may have been struck down with a flesh-rotting skin disease from the Middle Ages as teachers send out a warning letter to parents.
The school has reported two possible cases of leprosy and worried parents are now demanding more information about the apparent outbreak.
Some parents refused to send their children to school yesterday after receiving the warning letter from Indian Hills Elementary School in California, US.
Barbara Cole, director of disease control for Riverside County, said a school nurse told health officials about the rare disease – but it could take weeks to get tests results back to confirm whether the children have leprosy, which is characterised by disfiguring sores and peeling skin.
She told CBS : “We have not identified any risk at the school and it’s very difficult to transmit to others.”
The school, which is about an hour’s drive from Los Angeles, sent out the warning on Friday, and a classroom has since been decontaminated.
The students believed to have been infected have also been pulled out of class .
Jurupa Valley Unified Superintendent Elliott Duchon said: “For parents, they need to make a decision for their children but we’re not recommending any precautions.
“There is not a risk at this time.”
It is unclear whether the infected students are related to each other.
Parents are now being interviewed by county health officials to see if they have travelled to countries where leprosy is more prevalent.
Leprosy is a disease that damages the small nerves on the skin’s surface, which results in a loss of sensation.
It is spread through mucus after having close and repeated contact with an infected person.
It is easily treatable with antibiotics, although most of the population is immune to it.
The disease is also known as Hansen’s and caused by slow multiplying bacteria.
It’s spread through prolonged or repeated contact with an untreated patient.
It mainly affects the eyes, the upper respiratory tract, and the skin.
News Source MirrorNews