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Hand-foot-and-mouth disease hits Dartmouth College

Union Leader Correspondent

October 11. 2018 6:21PM

A view of the Dartmouth College campus in Hanover. (Courtesy of Dartmouth's Daily Blog)

HANOVER — At least 50 students at Dartmouth College have come down with hand--foot-and-mouth disease in recent weeks, though there’s no cause for serious concern, said Mark Reed, Dartmouth’s director of health services.

“It sounds a lot worse than it is,” Reed said.

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease, also known as the coxsackie virus, is a highly contagious illness that can leave people with painful rashes and blisters.

“It’s a young child’s illness; you usually see it in daycares,” Reed said.

The virus typically leaves people feeling sick, with a loss of appetite, a sore throat and a fever, though many infected people feel no symptoms. The illness can incubate in an infected person for days before symptoms arise. When it does show up, people can develop the rashes and blisters that usually last seven to 10 days, Reed said.

Unfortunately, people can remain contagious with the illness for several weeks, even after they themselves have recovered, Reed said.

“The people who have no symptoms can still spread it,” he said.

Reed said the illness isn’t typically considered serious enough to report to health officials, and there are rarely severe side effects that come along with the virus. Still, Reed cautioned students who feel ill to come to the college infirmary or for members of the general public to see their health provider if they feel ill.

Coxsackie is generally spread though saliva and other bodily fluids, he said. While it is mostly seen in daycares, it is known to spread on college campuses and sometimes military bases where people are in close contact.

There have been no official cancellations of college events, though a couple of fraternities with sick members have cancelled meetings, Reed said.

There have been no new reported infections this week, and Reed is encouraging everyone to wash hands with soap and warm water.

College cleaning staff are also targeting student common areas and public spots for disinfecting as a way to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Public Safety Education University Health General News Hanover

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