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Gypsy moth caterpillars potential cause of skin rash outbreak at Central Falls school

Even more students at Veterans Memorial Elementary School in Central Falls are experiencing a skin rash, which brings the total to 21 students and three teachers. (WJAR)

Even more students at Veterans Memorial Elementary School in Central Falls are experiencing a skin rash, which brings the total to 21 students and three teachers.

Central Falls Superintendent Victor Capellan announced on Friday that gypsy moth caterpillars were found in the trees around the school, as well as inside one of the lower-level classrooms, which was temporarily closed Thursday.

“Small rash in the arms, a couple of them have had a small rash in the side of the face,” Capellan said.

The superintendent told NBC 10 on Thursday that mouse droppings were found in a lower-level classroom and thought that may be to blame for the outbreak.

But now the district is focusing on gypsy moths as the possible source.

The district plans to have a technician spray the trees around the school and treat them for gypsy moths.

In the meantime, the three classrooms in the basement level remain closed as crews continue to clean them. Students were relocated to the library.

An air quality test will be done once the school has been cleaned and the trees have been sprayed. More pest control treatments are also being planned for the rest of the school.

Capellan said the Rhode Island Department of Health is monitoring the situation. The school district will provide families with an update.

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