Why Is Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Spreading at Florida State University?

Amanda MacMillan : health.com

Outbreaks of the viral infection—which can cause a fever, rash, sores, and mouth blisters—typically occur in daycare centers.

Understand the reasons behind the spread of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease at Florida State University in this informative blog post.
Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

Hand, foot, and mouth disease, a viral infection, is affecting students at Florida State University and other schools. Hand, foot, and mouth disease spreads through bodily fluids or contaminated surfaces, causing rash, fever, blisters, and painful sores.

Young children typically experience hand, foot, and mouth disease, and outbreaks often occur in daycare centers. However, in the last month, reports have emerged of the disease affecting high schools in Indiana, Vermont, and New Jersey.

The University of Colorado at Boulder also experienced several cases on campus in August. And NBC News reports Florida State University (FSU) has seen 22 cases so far this semester.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is generally not dangerous, says Dr. Nadia Qureshi, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Loyola Medicine. It can be quite uncomfortable, though, and usually lasts five to seven days. No cure or vaccine for hand, foot, and mouth disease. Treatment focuses on hydration and over-the-counter medication for pain and fever.

The most common cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease is the coxsackievirus, which spreads just like the common cold or flu. Dr. Qureshi says that outbreaks among older children and adults are rare, but not entirely surprising.

Dr. Nadia Qureshi warns that a new, more severe strain of the hand, foot, and mouth disease can spread easily in college dorms due to close proximity and shared items.

The new strain, a natural evolution of the virus, tends to cause a more widespread rash and more painful blisters. But even this form rarely requires medical intervention, except in the case of very young children who have trouble swallowing because of painful blisters in their mouths. In very rare cases, says Dr. Qureshi, the coxsackievirus has been linked to serious brain or heart complications.

What is the reason of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease?

According to FSU administration, it is speculated that the outbreak may be attributed to a sewage spill during Hurricane Hermine or an electricity outage. To prevent further cases, FSU is sanitizing public spaces on campus and advising residents to sanitize their living facilities. They’ve also encouraged frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers. (CU Boulder also warned students working in science labs that the coxsackievirus can be especially harmful to rodents, and urges them to take “extra care not to spread the disease.”)

Those are smart steps, says Dr. Qureshi. To avoid hand, foot, and mouth disease, it is crucial to frequently wash hands with soap and water, refrain from touching the face or mouth, and avoid close contact with infected individuals. Immunity from childhood infection may not protect against the new strain. Transmission can persist through saliva or fecal matter even after symptoms have subsided.“If you practice basic good hygiene and you no longer have a fever, you should be fine,” she says. “Just stay away from kissing and sharing cups for a while.”

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