Parents Worried Over Possible Leprosy Cases

Parents Worried Over Possible Leprosy Cases


Jurupa Valley, CA

Some parents chose to keep their children home from Indian Hills Elementary School in Jurupa after the district told them two students were being tested for Hansen’s disease, more commonly known as leprosy.

Elliott Duchon, Jurupa Valley Unified School District superintendent says they found out late last week, "We had a parent report to the office Thursday morning that children were diagnosed preliminarily diagnosed by physician, as possibly you notice I’m qualifying it having leprosy."

Duchon says the two students are not attending school and the classrooms they were in have been decontaminated but stresses these two cases remain unconfirmed, "Confirmation needs to be made by a specialist so they were going to seek the specialist’s help, confirm the diagnosis and for us to really know about it, it has to go throughout a county health department."

Barbara Cole, the Riverside County Centers for Disease Control director, says the disease is hard to transmit and rare in the county, historically only seven cases have ever been detected and currently there are zero confirmed cases.

Cole says while parents have a right to keep their children home there is no cause to worry, "Even if these two individuals are confirmed to have leprosy, hard to transmit to others so we don’t see that there’s a risk a safety issue for students or staff at the school."

According to the CDC the disease is caused by a micro bacteria that causes disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage and is spread through body secretions like droplets of spit and mucus. While the effects are irreversible, the disease is curable with antibiotics. 

Some parents we spoke with did not know about the possible cases. 

Monica Acuna, whose child attends Indian Hills says she felt it was safe to send her child to go to school, "If it was something more serious they would’ve closed the school."