'More than a dozen' cases of Hand, Foot, & Mouth disease confirmed at FSU

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By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service
September 15, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A rare outbreak of Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease has infected nearly two dozen students at Florida State University this week. The outbreak, which is usually common at day care centers, is thought to be hurricane-related.

Students first started showing up with the unusual disease at the FSU Wellness Center on Monday.

“Blisters on hands and some students who had blisters on their feet. We normally see this in day care centers,” says FSU Health Services Director Lesley Sacher.

After Tuesday brought new cases, the University cancelled Fraternity and Sorority Rush events scheduled that night.

Justin Butler of FSU's Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity said, “I don’t know if they expected it to be gone overnight. Activities resumed last night and Rush is back and better than ever, I guess.”

The vast majority of students we talked to were aware of the virus and what to do.

“It’s kinda contagious, really contagious. That’s all I know,” said student Ayesha Wilkinson.

“And they told you to wash your hands? What have they told you?” we asked.

“Sanitizer,” said Wilkinson.

The best advice is to clean, clean, clean with a bleach solution diluted nine to one with water.

There were no new cases Wednesday, but Thursday did bring another case.

“It’s nothing that is life-threatening,” said Sacher.

The University has asked if the outbreak could be in any way related to a sewage spill that took place while Hurricane Hermine was hitting the state capital. They have not gotten a definitive answer.

Even if sewage wasn’t the culprit, the University says Hurricane Hermine probably was.

“We expect it to spike again, a little bit. We think the hurricane and no electricity led to this in terms of humid hot conditions, can’t do your laundry,” Sacher said.

There is no cure for Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease except time, which is between five and seven days.

Signs and symptoms usually begin within three to six days after exposure and it typically begins with a fever.

The University is working with students who are missing classes because of the virus.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
September 15, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- There's at least one new case of Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease at Florida State University.

Officials confirmed the case with WCTV, Thursday. They say the total number is still under 20 people.

The viral infection is very contagious and common among infants and toddlers and generally is spread through contact.

University officials say they're working to prevent the spread of the virus on campus through sanitation procedures.

By: Erika Fernandez
September 14, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A health alert was sent out on Wednesday morning to all Florida State students warning them of a recent outbreak. At least a dozen cases of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease have been confirmed on the campus.

It's a disease that's most often found in children in daycare facilities, that's why students and staff at FSU say they are shocked to learn the disease is spreading on the campus.

For most patients, symptoms include cough, fever, body aches and blisters on the hands, mouth, and feet. Health officials say the virus is very contagious and can be transmitted by any sort of contact, but those who get it can recover in just a few days.

Dr. Christopher Delisle says there is no antibiotic to treat or cure the virus. He says he has followed up with some students that were diagnosed in Monday and they are already feeling better.

The University is advising students who are diagnosed to isolate themselves as much as possible. Doctors are also stressing good hygiene, hand washing, and sanitation.

The students say that word about this virus spreading on campus is making them think twice about shaking hands or touching any surfaces.

Students also said that Tuesday night's Rush Week activities were postponed due to the cases of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. Officials with the Interfraternity Council say they did it as a precaution to help prevent the spreading of the virus.

Rush Week activities will resume on Thursday. FSU says they have not cancelled any other school events due to the outbreak.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
September 14, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Florida State University officials have confirmed more than a dozen cases of a viral infection on the FSU campus.

According to FSU officials, several students have come down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. Officials have not given a specific number of cases other than there are more than a dozen, but fewer than 20, at this time.

“We are aware of more than a dozen cases so far,” Lesley Sacher, director of the FSU Health and Wellness Center, said Wednesday. “This illness usually lasts for a few days, and there is no medicine to treat it. Blisters may form on hands, feet or in the mouth with mild fever or sore throat causing the patient to feel uncomfortable for about five days.”

FSU University Health Services says that the disease is common among infants and toddlers. It's highly contagious and typically runs its course in 3-5 days for a mild case and up to 7-10 days for a severe case.

It spreads through contact, coughing, sharing cups or utensils and touching unclean spaces.

The university says it will continue its sanitation protocols for "all public spaces on campus," and that the Leon County Health Department was notified as soon as the officials found out.

Director of Environmental Health and Safety at FSU, Tom Jacobson, says that students should take precautions to sanitize their living and communal spaces, preferably with a bleach-based product.

Officials with the school say they're currently working to prevent any further transmission and are urging those on campus to wash their hands often with soap and water.

WCTV will update this story as more information becomes available.

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