In the wealthy suburbs of Orange County, around 30 children and ten staff members at Lake Forest Elementary School have come down with mysterious itchy rashes, blisters and bites throughout the body. The cause? No one knows.
The unidentified outbreak has made its way throughout the elementary school, as parents and doctors are scrambling to find answers as to what caused this infection. Already though, five new cases in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District have recently been confirmed. Arms, feet, backs, chests, waistlines and even the face have all been susceptible to the outbreak.
Jared Dever of the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control has eliminated bed bugs, mosquitoes, flees, spiders, mites and mice as the possible catalysts to this unprecedented medical episode. “At this time, we have not been able to collect anything that would give us a clue as to what caused these bites,” Dever told news media.
Dever has confirmed though that experts are now investigating insects with a “wide variety of biting or stinging” traits. Pesticide has been sprayed across the school campus this past week, from inside classrooms to outside on the two athletics fields. The elementary school closed its fields Friday after discovering all 10 staff members that contracted the rash were involved with an outside after-school program. Still, even with the fields closed off, children are coming home with new bites.
What may be more disturbing than the rashes and welting bite marks is the school’s lack of alerting parents right away. The first reported outbreak was September 15, yet parents were not notified until the 24th. Parents are outraged the school took more than a week’s time to inform parents of what was unraveling.
“They don’t seem to be looking out for (the kids’) best interests at this point,’ said Darnell Grunkemeyer, a mother of a fifth grader infected. “I don’t feel comfortable with my kids going there now.”
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