Leprosy diagnosis confirmed in Jurupa Valley child

- Laboratory findings have confirmed leprosy in a Jurupa Valley child, authorities said Thursday.

Parents were told of the initial diagnosis earlier this month after district officials received an unconfirmed report of two students at Indian Hills Elementary School contracting leprosy.

Test results were received this week from the National Hansen's Disease (Leprosy) Laboratory Research Program in Baton Rouge.

A second child was suspected of having the illness, but authorities said there was no indication at the time of being infected. 

"None of our recommendations to the school or parents have changed," Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County's public health officer, said. "It is incredibly difficult to contract leprosy. The school was safe before this case arose and it still is."

Hansen’s disease, more popularly known as leprosy, is transmitted through prolonged contact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, most people will never develop the disease even if they are exposed to the bacteria. Approximately 95 percent of the population has a natural immunity.

Leprosy can be cured with multi-drug therapy, a combination of three antibiotics. According to health officials, treatment can take from six months to a year -- and people are no longer contagious after about one week of multi-drug therapy.

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