Exact cause of rash outbreak still unknown
Jennifer Heaslip /Herald News
April 13, 2005
Local health officials are still puzzled by the number of
children with rashes in area schools last week.
The rash is described as red and
bumpy and is located on the back of the neck just below the hairline. Most
of the cases were in Roanoke Rapids schools, and about 150 students have
the rash, according to the Halifax County Health
Although an exact cause hasn't been determined, Health
Department Director Lynda Smith said it only caught their attention
because of the large number of students who have the rash, not because of
its severity. The rash would look like an every day occurrence if not for
the numbers, she said.
About 20 students were examined by state
epidemiologist Jeffrey Engel, who visited the schools Thursday because of
the large number of students effected. Engel said the rash was mild,
although scratching can lead to oozing and infection.
multiple causes of the rash including eczema, seborrhea, poison ivy and
head lice., and added that outbreaks in school-age children are
Smith said she hopes the rash will be gone in a week, and
added that school nurses did a great job treating the
Carol Cowen, director of student services for Roanoke
Rapids Graded Schools, said she noticed the rash before Christmas Break at
Clara Hearne Pre-K. After break, the rash was found at the elementary
schools and then at the middle and high schools.
Children at other
schools and daycares in the county also have the rash, she said.
cold compress should be put on the rash and hydrocortisone cream can be
used for relief. Children with a fever or swollen glands should see a