Coachella Valley Region
An outbreak of Coxsackie Virus has hit two Coachella Valley schools, infecting several students. Now the Riverside County Public Health Department is getting involved.
Several students at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School and Julius Corsini Elementary School stayed home this week after they were infected with the virus.
"The Coxsackie Virus causes what is commonly known as Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease," said Doctor Thomas Sherwin, a pediatric physician.
The virus spreads like the common cold through contact and exposure to saliva droplets. Symptoms can include fever, sore throat and cough. Fatalities are extremely rare.
"Coxsackie Virus usually causes lesions or small little bumps that occur on the hands and on the feet, or the arms or the lower legs and then also up in the mouth usually in the oral cavity," said Sherwin.
Since Hand foot and mouth disease is a virus, antibiotics are ineffective.
"We recommend keeping the young kids hydrated and when they have fever with it, treating them with either Tylenol or Motrin," Sherwin said.
Health experts say Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is likely to surface during the winter months and while adults are susceptible, the virus is more common in young children.
"When it’s diagnosed you have to stay out of school until your fever passes and the lesions are leaving. It’s a contagious thing and it can be a nuisance if it goes through a school system," Sherwin said.
Schools don’t report individual cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease but the Riverside County Public Health Department says they will if there is an outbreak.
"We conduct an investigation and look at how many students are involved, when did it start, when was the last case, are individuals who are ill excluded because they should not be in school, we make sure that before they return to school, that they have been cleared," said Barbara Cole, director of disease control for the Riverside County Public Health Department.