Thanks to Angie Baxlie for sending the link to this NJ.com report: Three more schools infected by ‘unprecedented’ hand-foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.
What some athletic officials have described as an "unprecedented" outbreak of hand-foot-and-mouth disease continues spreading across New Jersey.
Holmdel High, Mendham High and North Warren High are the latest schools to report cases of the virus in their athletes, prompting all three schools to postpone their varsity football games previously schedule for Friday night.
Holmdel moved its game at Red Bank Regional after several players came down with the disease, according to a report by the Asbury Park Press, while Mendham postponed its game at Roxbury and North Warren pushed its matchup against Boonton.
It's the second time this season Boonton has been forced to move a game because of HFMD. The Bombers were supposed to play Pequannock High Sept. 9 before several visiting players came down with the disease.
The virus also has been found in athletes at Don Bosco Prep, Kinnelon High, Hunterdon Central High, Wallkill Valley High and High Point High. All total so far, nine New Jersey high schools in six counties have reported cases of HFMD in their athletes.
The outbreak at Holmdel and North Warren marked the first time the virus has been reported in Monmouth and Warren counties, respectively.
HFMD causes painful sores inside the mouth as well as a skin rash on a person’s hands or feet, and it can also lead to high fevers and body aches, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus can be spread through contact or the air from coughing or sneezing, and it’s most commonly diagnosed in younger children.
Although the virus can cause significant discomfort, it doesn’t pose serious risks if properly treated with rest, fluids and Tylenol, according to doctors. Typically, the illness subsides in one to two weeks.
Doctors and athletic trainers have called the outbreak “unprecedented.”
“It’s very unusual,” Jack Kripsak, a sports medicine and family practice physician and also the chair of the state athletic association’s medical advisory board, said earlier this month. “The only thing I can speculate is that there’s a new strain of this virus in the air and people are coming down with it. It has to be something that people haven’t been exposed to before. It has to be a new strain. Otherwise, why would this be happening? No one’s ever seen this before.”