What is hand, foot, and mouth disease? What are its symptoms?

A viral infection called hand, foot and mouth disease has hit Florida State University.

The infection, which is typically more common in babies and toddlers, has affected a small group of students, according to local reports.

FSU Health and Wellness Center director Lesley Sacher said there were more than a dozen cases as of Wednesday, CBS Miami reports.

The outbreak prompted university officials to cancel several events Tuesday night, and crews disinfected public and living areas that might have been contaminated.

Though the infection is fairly common in small children, such an outbreak in adults doesn’t happen often. Here are some basic facts about the disease.


What is hand, foot, and mouth disease?

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by viruses that belong to the Enterovirus genus, or group.

“The ‘entero’ part means that these are viruses that live in people’s intestines and they’re passed from person to person generally through fecal or oral route,” Dr. Adam J. Ratner, an associate professor in the departments of pediatrics and microbiology at NYU Langone Medical Center, told media.


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What are the symptoms?

Early signs of hand, foot, and mouth disease include fever, reduced appetite, sore throat, and a general feeling of being unwell, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A couple of days after the fever starts, painful sores can develop in the mouth, followed by a skin rash with red spots and blisters on the palms of the hand and soles of the feet a few days after that. They may also appear on the knees, elbows, buttocks or genital area.

Not everyone gets all these symptoms, and some, particularly adults, may show no symptoms at all but can still spread the virus to others.


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