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Published: Wednesday, 10/10/2001

Lady beetles suspected in Sylvania rash cases

Some pupils at Sylvania's Central Elementary School again developed rashes yesterday, which a dermatologist described as contact urticaria, which, he added, is “totally benign.”

Dr. Craig Burkhart, whose practice is in Sylvania, said the type of rash that has been displayed can be caused by food and other products as well as vegetation and insects.

He said he suspects the Asian lady beetle, which he noted has been swarming in the area.

He added that the beetle can cause a rash by “bites, its fine hairs, and secretions.

“In kids, insects are a very common cause” for the rash.

He also said most of the children who attend Central don't get there by having to walk through vegetation.

Dr. Burkhart said urticaria causes transient lesions that clear up in minutes to an hour and are gone completely in a few hours.

The dermatologist said he had earlier seen children who reported the rash, but symptoms were nearly or completely gone by the time they arrived at his office.

He said the diagnosis of urticaria could be made from descriptions of the symptoms from the school nurse and the fact that the symptoms were fleeting.

He added that he anticipates the rashes will disappear “after a couple of good freezes” when the insect will either die or hibernate.

Yesterday, a total of 13 children showed signs of the rash and seven of them were sent home.

Sylvania school officials said in most instances, the rashes have recurred in children who earlier had shown symptoms rather than spread to a larger group of children.

The Toledo-Lucas County health department and a private environmental company are testing substances taken from in and around the school, including the insects which resemble common ladybugs, in an attempt to pinpoint and eliminate the source of the rash.

Officials said some of the test results are due next week.

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