Lab results confirm leprosy in 1 Jurupa Valley child

Friday, September 23, 2016
An undated photo of children and parents at a school campus.
An undated photo of children and parents at a school campus.

JURUPA VALLEY, Calif. -- A Jurupa Valley child has been diagnosed with leprosy, Riverside County Community Health Agency officials said Thursday.

Lab findings from a research program in Louisiana confirmed the diagnosis this week.

Officials at Indian Hills Elementary School in Jurupa Valley warned parents of two unconfirmed cases of the disease, also known as Hansen's disease, at the campus in early September.

There was no indication, however, the second child suspected of having the illness was infected, said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County's public health officer.

"None of our recommendations to the school or parents have changed," Kaiser said. "It is incredibly difficult to contract leprosy. The school was safe before this case arose and it still is."

Although health officials said students should not be at risk at the school, some parents decided to keep their children home after initially learning of the reports.

Hansen's disease is transmitted through prolonged contact, but over 95 percent of the population already is naturally immune. If a patient is taking antibiotics for the disease, the bacteria cannot be transmitted to other people.