Southern California child tests positive for leprosy

Southern California child tests positive for leprosy

Two children at the Indian Hills Elementary School in Jurupa Valley had previously been diagnosed with the medical condition Hansen's disease - the accurate name for leprosy, according to Riverside County health authorities.

Officials maintained that the classrooms were sanitized following the initial diagnoses and that there is no danger to the child's - whose identity was not revealed - classmates.

"None of our recommendations to the school or parents have changed", Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County's public health officer, said. In the United States, Hansen's disease is rare, with only about 150 diagnosed cases each year.

Riverside County Director of Disease Control Barbara Cole stated that the child who tested positive for the disease contracted it by prolonged contact with someone who was also infected, and who does not reside in Riverside County. "The school was safe before this case arose and it still is".

However, both health and school officials assured parents back then, as well as they do now, that their children will be safe at school.

It is not spread through short-term contact like handshakes or even sexual intercourse. Parents at the school were sent emails informing them of the diagnoses and Superintendent Elliot Duchon answered questions at the school Thursday afternoon.

Superintendant Elliott Duchon said: "The only way to protect the two students is for nobody to know who they are".

Leprosy (file photo) remains a problem in tropical hot spots of the world with some 250,000 new infections reported each year. People in the USA are most likely to contract leprosy after prolonged contact with someone who lives in or visits a country where It is more common, such as Brazil, Angola or Madagascar. Stories of fingers and toes falling off due to leprosy are false, too. The disease ceases to be contagious within days after the first administration of the treatment.

While it takes a year or two to fully clear the body of the disease, if left untreated, the effect can be severe nerve damage, deformity and disability. It is only when left untreated that sufferers of the disease will begin to experience permanent damage to the nerves, eyes or skin.

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