Nothing says “cancel fraternity rush” like an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease, students at Florida State University are discovering, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
University officials tell the paper they count more than a dozen cases so far. That has cleaning crews wiping down dormitories with bleach. And folks who manage any common living space, including fraternity and sorority houses, have been advised to disinfect.
But this is the same scourge more typically associated with human toddlers.
It is a viral illness that typically starts with a fever, sore throat, appetite loss and just not feeling well. After the fever starts, painful sores can form in the mouth, while a skin rash with red spots and sometimes blisters can develop on hands and feet. (The rash can also show up on knees, elbows, rear ends and near the genitals.)
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control it can spread in a variety of ways.
“For example, you might get infected by kissing someone who has hand, foot, and mouth disease or by touching a doorknob that has viruses on it then touching your eyes, mouth or nose,” the CDC’s website on the virus notes.
Best prevention is that old standby: hand washing. But cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and avoiding kissing, hugging, and sharing spoons, forks and cups with people who are infected.
And you do want to avoid it, because there’s no real treatment for it. Mostly you can attempt to reduce symptoms.
Notes the CDC: Large outbreaks of hand, foot, and mouth disease are not common in the United States. However, in some countries in Asia, outbreaks are large and occur often. Thousands of people may get infected. Some people, particularly young children, may have severe disease requiring hospitalization or even causing death.