Elementary School Students Suffer Mysterious Bites

An elementary school is investigating after about 30 students and 10 staff members have experienced mysterious, rash-like symptoms, possibly caused by bug bites.

Parents whose children attend Lake Forest Elementary School in California began to notice the large red bumps on their children and reported the symptoms to officials at the school. Around 30 students and 10 members of the school staff have reportedly experienced the bites, and the school district is still investigating the cause, according to KTLA.

"It is a big mystery and it’s one that we’re hoping to resolve," said spokesman Jared Dever. "We have done extensive surveys on stinging and/or biting insects that could possibly have caused the reaction that we’re seeing in the students. However our investigations have really not turned up any conclusive evidence."

The mother of one student said that her pediatrician told her that her son was having an immune response to bites from a local infestation, possibly of bugs such as chiggers, according to KABC. Kathleen Campen said her daughter started experiencing symptoms three weeks ago and has been dealing with the rashes since.

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

Mother Karla May said that when parents first brought the issue to the school's attention, they implied that the bites were coming from students' homes.

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

Officials in the district have had the school campus treated with a pesticide over the past weekend, and there are plans to repeat the treatment the following weekend. Officials said that the pesticide treatment appears to be working.

We do understand the frustration because it isn't unknown, and we hope that the kids are recovering," said Tammy Blakely, an assistant to Superintendent Clint Harwick. "[We need as much information as] 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."

Sources: KABC, KTLA / Photo credit: KABC

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