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Published On: Wed, Oct 17th, 2012

University of Virginia reports hand, foot and mouth disease outbreak

An outbreak of the viral disease, hand, foot and mouth disease has affeted a couple dozen students on the Charlottesville, Virginia campus, according to a report today in the Cavalier Daily.

Dome, Rotunda (University of Virginia), Charlottesville, Virginia, USA Public domain image/Daderot

According to the report, an email was sent out to students last week concerning the spread of the virus on campus.

Dr. Meredith Hayden of Elson Student Health said although the virus is circulating basically all the time, it is the first such outbreak she’s seen in her seven years at UVA.

Hayden says that the outbreak may be nearing its end as a new case has not been seen in two weeks. The current tally is 24 cases, 16 reported in Sept. and 8 this month.

HFMD is a common viral illness in children and infants which is commonly confused with the animal disease foot-and-mouth (also called hoof-and-mouth) disease. Foot and mouth disease is a disease of cattle, sheep, and swine; however, the two diseases are not related—they are caused by different viruses. Humans do not get the animal disease, and animals do not get the human disease.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by a group of viruses called the enteroviruses. Coxsackievirus A16 is the most common cause of HFMD in the United States.

Infection of HFMD is spread from person to person by direct contact with infectious virus. The virus is found in the nose and throat secretions, saliva, blister fluid, and stool of infected persons. The virus is most often spread by persons with unwashed, virus-contaminated hands and by contact with virus-contaminated surfaces.

Symptoms of HFMD may include fever, headache, vomiting, fatigue, malaise, ear pain, sore throat, non-itchy body rash, sores with blisters on palms of hands and soles of feet, oral ulcer, sores or blisters, loss of appetite, and diarrhea.

Infected persons are most contagious during the first week of the illness. The viruses that cause HFMD can remain in the body for weeks after a patient’s symptoms have gone away. This means that the infected person can still pass the infection to other people even though he/she appears well.

There is no specific treatment or vaccine for HFMD, only symptoms are treated.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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