Twelve students and 2 teachers at McArthur High School in Hollywood are being treated in a hospital decontamination area after breaking out in mysterious rashes -- a scare that saw a school building evacuated and a HazMat team arrive to investigate.
“Their arms and abdomens are covered in rashes,” Hollywood Fire-Rescue Division Chief Mark Steele told the Miami Herald. “It happened pretty quickly, so we believe that this is something that’s very acute.”
The itch began when a class of 21 students was walking from one classroom to another and almost all of them starting developing itchy rashes and hives inside a reading room, reports CBS Miami.
The Florida Public Health and Medical Department arrived at the school alongside fire departments. Those affected showered in an area set up outside the school before being transported in a plastic-lined school bus to Memorial Regional Hospital, reports the Miami Herald, where they walked through two inflatable halls by gender, showered again, and placed their clothing in orange bags.
Nadine Drew, spokeswoman for Broward County Schools, told HuffPost Miami that the last she spoke with the hospital, "everyone was considered stable" and that they had determined that this was not an infectious condition. Other than the itching rash, the group did not have any other symptoms.
What caused the rash is still a mystery, Drew said, as HazMat did not find anything suspicious in the school and gave it the all clear. Students who shared a building, but not the reading room, with the affected students were confined in the school gym and the rest of the day continued as usual.
As an extra precaution, the school has hired a team to conduct a thorough cleaning of the entire school this evening, especially the classrooms where the rashes occurred.
"There’s absolutely no answer," Drew told HuffPost Miami. "Nothing has surfaced and nothing has been identified for having been the cause for this. That’s still questionable."
School will open as usual tomorrow, Drew said.