Student from Southern California elementary school tested positive for leprosy

Student from Southern California elementary school tested positive for leprosy

The public health officials informed on Thursday about the case of a student from Southern California elementary school who has been found to have leprosy. Though, the officials also emphasized that the school and community of the student remain safe.

Initially, two students from the Indian Hills Elementary School in Jurupa Valley had been diagnosed with the condition called Hansen's disease, but only one of the children tested positive after results from the National Hansen's Disease Laboratory Research Program in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Public health officials have ascertained that there is no danger to the classmates of the affected student since leprosy is difficult to contract. Additionally, the classrooms had also been sanitized after the initial diagnosis had come out.

Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County's public health officer, said, "It is incredibly difficult to contract leprosy. The school was safe before this case arose and it still is”.

Although the disease is defined as an infectious plague that leads to shedding off of body parts of its patients, it can only be passed on through prolonged contact and not through short-term contact like handshakes. The disease can be easily treated with antibiotics which kill the bacteria within days, making it non-contagious. Full clearing of the germ from the body usually takes a year or two.

The school as well as health officials are not revealing the identity of either the child who contracted the disease or of the child who was tested. District Superintendent Elliott Duchon said that they are protecting the identity of the two students to protect them.

The school district informed the parents of students about the diagnosis through an email and Duchon answered questions from concerned parents at the school on Thursday afternoon.