Three-Year-Old AIDS Girl Banned From School After Biting Friend
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Health authorities have banned a 3-year-old girl who has AIDS from attending preschool because she bit a classmate, but her mother protested today, saying, ″My daughter is not a midget vampire.″
Dr. Tony Adams, the New South Wales state medical officer, said Eve Van Grafhorst would not be allowed to attend school for at least two and possibly three years.
″At this point the parents should plan on her not attending preschool again,″ he said. ″They should be thinking about when Eve is aged five or six and has grown out of the biting habit and is ready for primary school.″
AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, is a fatal disease that cripples the body’s ability to fight disease. It is believed transmitted through bodily fluids, blood and contaminated drug needles.
Eve, born three months premature, contracted secondary stages of AIDS through blood transfusions at birth.
The ruling by health officials is a blow for Eve’s parents, who have been battling local families and the state health department to allow their daughter to remain at school despite her illness.
Authorities said Eve, who was attending the Kincumber Daycare Center at Gosford, 44 miles north of Sydney, bit her best friend on the arm Friday. The bite did not appear to puncture the girl’s skin.
″You only need a microscopic breach in the skin to transmit the virus,″ Adams said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. ″Until we know more about the disease, we must assume it is a risk.″
Adams said the ban, the second enforced against Eve since she began preschool, was based on guidelines made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
Mrs. Van Grafhorst said she received a letter from the Gosford City Council over the weekend informing her of the decision. Eve had been back at the local daycare center for only two weeks after being banned for six weeks by the local council.
″I’m shocked. I am very disturbed at how politics runs this country,″ said Mrs. Van Grafhorst.
″The mayor told us he would have Eve out of the center within six weeks and he got his wish,″ she said. ″I just don’t know what we can do about it. We are extremely upset because Eve was delighted at being back at school.″
The mother of Laura McClenaghen, the classmate who was bitten, sided with Eve’s parents.
″Laura and Eve have been good friends for close on 12 months now and I think two bites in that amount of time is pretty good,″ she said. ″All children at that age bite.″
Eve’s mother also accused the local council of being hypocritical because she had not been warned against normal contact such as kissing and cuddling her child.
″That is what is so confusing,″ she said. ″We haven’t been warned that we are in danger and yet Eve is kept away because they feel she is a danger to other children.″
″My daughter is not a midget vampaire, not by any means,″ she said.