UPDATE: Monday, April 8, 2019.
In a statement released Sunday evening, the Sharyland school district retracted their statement of a student diagnosed with rubella and clarified the initial diagnosis was a suspected case and that the unidentified student did not have the infection.
“Sharyland ISD has been working with the Hidalgo County Health Department on a reported case of rubella at one of our elementary schools, a statement from the district states. “They have clarified through their investigation that the initial information we received was a suspected case and blood tests received today have confirmed it was not rubella.”
A spokesperson with the district said the initial letter to parents that was sent out last week was sent out as a precaution.
“The parent initially reported it to us and we were not able to contact the doctor to verify,” district spokeswoman Rocio Landin said of the suspected case of rubella. “The county took further steps to confirm.”
The Sharyland school district is notifying parents at Ruben Hinojosa Elementary School of a student that was diagnosed with a contagious infection.
In a letter dated April 5 and obtained by the Progress Times, the district is advising parents that a student at Ruben Hinojosa Elementary School was diagnosed with rubella, otherwise known as German measles-a contagious viral infection preventable by vaccine and best known by its distinctive red rash.
“Rubella is contagious and caused by a virus that can spread through coughing and sneezing,” the letter states. “A person is considered contagious up to one week before the rash appears and continues to be contagious for up to seven days after most school-age children have been vaccinated against this disease with the MMR vaccine.”
Sharyland school board Trustee Ricky Longoria confirmed the authenticity of the letter Saturday, adding that the district is spending the weekend disinfecting the campus.
Symptoms of the rubella virus include fever, headaches, runny nose, body aches and mild pink eye. Symptoms culminate into a rash that may start on the face before spreading to the rest of the body, the letter states.
“The purpose of this letter is not to alarm you but to help you recognize the symptoms in case your child begins to fill feel ill,” the letter states. “The knowledge may also help your doctor determine a diagnosis since some of these common symptoms are also associated with other illnesses.”
Treatment usually includes rest, drinking fluids taking over the counter medication for fever and pain and taking precautions to prevent the spread of this disease.
As a precaution, the campus is advising parents that students in the campus who have had a fever due to any illness will not be allowed to return to campus until they have been “fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.”
The diagnosis comes after Hidalgo County held a news conference Friday to discuss a mumps outbreak that originated in the city of Mission.
If diagnosed with rubella, students will not be allowed to return to school for seven days from the start of the appearance of the rash, the letter states. Students must be cleared by a licensed state health provider to return to school.
“Please speak with your child about prevention of this illness as well as others by stressing the importance of covering their cough, hand-washing and not sharing drinks food nor eating utensils.”