Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Spreads Through Five Belmont County Schools


A painful and highly contagious disease has spread through five Belmont County school systems.

It’s called Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, and health officials say this particular outbreak is somewhat unusual, as they usually see this disease in very young children, for instance, in day cares and preschools. This outbreak, however, is affecting school students and even adults, and officials  say there’s many more cases this year than there has ever been.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease has even forced one school in Belmont County to close. St. John School in Bellaire closed for one day last week, after a quarter of their population was hit with this virus. The Belmont County Health Department reports 25 students at St. Johns had it; seven at Shadyside, eight at St. Clairsville, six at St. Mary’s and two at Barnesville.

Symptoms include fever and aches, and blisters on the hands and feet and in the mouth and throat. The treatment is simple – stay home and rest.

Blisters in the mouth can prompt children to refuse to eat or drink, which can lead to the main complication. Health officials say it’s not spread by saliva, But it is spread through stool, such as when changing diapers, or from direct or indirect contact with the watery discharge from the blisters.
Everything you touch, from the doorknob to the toilet handle to the computer mouse, can pass it on.

There is no medication to treat the disease, as it is a virus and is not treated with antibiotics. Those afflicted are advised to stay home until it runs its course, which takes seven to ten days.

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