Dozens suffering from possible bug bites at Lake Forest Elementary School

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (KABC) -- About 30 students and 10 staff members have been suffering from possible bug bites at Lake Forest Elementary School.

Parents said they began noticing welts and bites on their children and reported it to school officials.

Kathleen Campen said her daughter has been dealing with the issue for about three weeks.

"Really stressful. Haven't slept at night very well," Campen explained. "My daughter is living on Benadryl and steroid cream right now to relieve it."

A pediatrician told one boy's mother he was having an active immune response to external bites due to localized environmental infestation, possibly chigger-like bugs.

"I feel very concerned. I feel sad. I know a lot of these moms have been up all night crying with their children," mother Karla May said.

Some parents said when they first reported the issue to the school, they were disappointed with the principal's response.

"The school was implying it was coming from children's homes," May said.

A representative for the Saddleback Valley Unified School District said it was notified by the school principal late last week.

"The district office has been working with the school site since the beginning of the week. We have been working with Orange County Vector Control to try to identify the source of the problem, vector control has not been able to identify the problem," Tammy Blakely, assistant to Superintendent Clint Harwick said.

Parents said the school didn't notify them about the problem until Friday. Officials closed the fields at the school as a precaution.

"We do understand the frustration because it isn't unknown, and we hope that the kids are recovering," Blakely said. "As much information they can share with us so that we can share with the agencies that are trying to identify what the problem is would be very helpful."
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