Two children from Indian Hills Elementary School in Jurupa Valley, Southern California were identified by a resident specialist to have a condition medically known as Hansen's disease, commonly known as leprosy.
Results from the National Hansen's Disease Laboratory Research Program came this week showing the students tested positive of the ailment, according to Riverside County public health officials.
In addition, local health representatives stressed that it is exceedingly not easy to go down with leprosy. They also indicated that there is no reason to be alarmed since the child's classmates are far from danger and the classrooms had all been sanitized from the time when the initial diagnoses came up.
One of Riverside County's public health officers, Dr. Cameron Kaiser said, "It is incredibly difficult to contract leprosy. The school was safe before this case arose and it still is."
Statistically, the U.S. has recorded about 200 cases of leprosy occurring per year wherein over 95 percent of the country's populace is naturally impervious to it, eMedTV posts.
Leprosy is widely known, and feared for the matter, as an extremely contagious plague. It makes the victims suffer from shedding body parts. However, it should be noted that it is transmissible only through extended contact and is practically treatable with the use of antibiotics. It does not spread through short-term physical contact like shaking hands or even sexual intercourse.
In any case, the ones most susceptible to the illness are the family members who have regular contacts with the untreated victim, and people who travel to places like Brazil, Angola, and India wherein leprosy is pretty common.
District Superintendent Elliot Duchon said in a short interview with Riverside's Press-Enterprise that, "the only way to protect the two students is for nobody to know who they are." Health and school personnel will not say anything regarding who the child was and how he or she acquired the disease.
As a standard operating procedure, the school sent out e-mails to parents notifying them of the hospital's diagnosis. Duchon was present at the school last Thursday afternoon to provide concerned parents the answers they need.
Sadly, there is a lot of misconception about Hansen's Disease. What is even more upsetting are the widespread of fake stories about toes or fingers falling off the body, which adds to the stigma victims face from the society. This stirs fear causing some countries to quarantine victims.
Leprosy has been a problem experienced in most of the world's tropical places with around 250,000 cases of new infections being reported every year. And just like tuberculosis, it can be dormant for years prior to harming the nerves and body.
It normally takes around a year or two years to cleanse the body against all the germs. Antibiotics typically eradicate the bacteria making it non-contagious within days. Disability, deformity, and even nerve damage comes into play if the problem is left untreated from the get-go.