Battling Spread Of Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease

Hundreds of college students — especially on the East Coast — are catching hand, foot and mouth disease, according to an article on the Inside Higher Ed website.

The contagious viral infection spreads quickly and causes fever, sore throat and a rash on the mouth, hands and feet. It’s typically found in children who are under 5. The disease spreads easily through person-to-person contact of saliva, droplets in the air from a cough or sneeze, fluid from blisters, and feces.

Dartmouth, in New Hampshire, confirmed 50 cases this quarter. Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., has been hit especially hard with 120 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease as of Oct 17, up from 95 five days earlier.

To combat the spread, students and employees are being advised to steer clear of those infected peers, clean and disinfect surfaces and wash their hands.

Mars Hill University, in North Carolina, confirmed 15 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease. Mars Hill staff are cleaning and disinfecting door handles, elevator buttons and other surfaces frequently.

The dining hall temporarily replaced its usual dishware with paper plates and plastic cutlery. Infected students were told to stay in their rooms, had food delivered to them and were instructed not to attend class or extracurricular activities until their symptoms subsided.

Six students have sought treatment at Princeton University, and cases have also been reported at Wesleyan University, though the exact numbers have not been confirmed, the article said.