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Leprosy Diagnosis Confirmed In Jurupa Valley Child

JURUPA ( — Authorities say laboratory findings confirmed a leprosy diagnosis in a Jurupa Valley child.

Parents were notified of the initial diagnosis earlier this month, after district officials received an unconfirmed report of two students at Indian Hills Elementary School contracting Hansen's disease, more popularly known as leprosy.

The National Hansen's Disease Laboratory Research Program in Baton Rouge, La., confirmed the diagnosis, according to the Riverside University Health System.

While a second child was suspected of having the illness, there is no indication at this time that the youngster was infected, Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said in a statement.

"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."

News of the diagnosis led to parents refusing to send their children to school. Public health officials say Hansen's disease is transmitted through prolonged contact, and that over 95 percent of the population already is naturally immune.

Jurupa Valley Unified School District officials say the classrooms at Indian Hills Elementary School have been decontaminated.

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