No announcement yet.

PA: Hand, foot and mouth disease seen in Edinboro

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • PA: Hand, foot and mouth disease seen in Edinboro


    Published: October 10. 2009 1:15AM
    Hand, foot and mouth disease seen in Edinboro
    Edinboro reports spread of illness
    EDINBORO -- A viral illness spread easily among children is making its way around the Edinboro area.

    It's not swine flu, but hand, foot and mouth disease.

    "We've received a few phone calls within the last week," said Julie Wehrer, M.D., a Hamot Medical Center physician with Family Health Care of Edinboro, 208 Waterford St. "I wouldn't call it an epidemic."

    Physicians with Saint Vincent Health Center's Edinboro Medical Center, 450 Erie St., also reported getting calls in recent days.

    Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common viral illness often found in preschool-aged children. Like flu, it is spread person to person through cough and sneeze droplets.

    The virus causes fever and blisterlike eruptions in the mouth, and on the hands and feet. A non-itchy skin rash might also develop.

    It's not to be confused with foot-and-mouth, or hoof-and-mouth disease, which is a different virus and is found in animals.

    "This is the time of year when we usually see cases of hand, foot and mouth disease," said Charlotte Berringer, R.N., director of community health for the Erie County Department of Health. "Most cases are usually benign, and some children might not even notice they have it."

    Most cases clear on their own after several days. Because it's caused by a virus, antibiotics don't help, Wehrer said.

    "The most common complication is dehydration," she said. "That can happen when the lesions in the mouth are sore, and the child doesn't want to eat or drink anything because it hurts."

    Parents are encouraged to give their children cold drinks, and foods like applesauce, Popsicles and gelatin to prevent dehydration.

    Preventing the disease is difficult because there is no vaccine and it's difficult to teach young children good hygiene habits, Berringer said.

    No recent cases of hand, foot and mouth disease have been found among children attending the Early Learning Unit at Edinboro University, the area's largest day-care center.

    "We haven't seen any cases, but we are vigilant about hand washing around here," said Jill Simmons, director of the unit, which is overseen by the County YMCA. "When we change a diaper, both the caregiver and the infant get their hands washed."

    Wehrer said that in rare cases, a child with this disease might develop brain or heart inflammation. Those complications are more common outside the U.S.

    "Normally, you don't need to see a doctor," Wehrer said. "But take them if your child develops a temperature higher than 102, seems lethargic or continues to have a high fever for a couple of days."

    DAVID BRUCE can be reached at 870-1736 or by e-mail.