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Nineteen students in total have now been diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease since the beginning of this academic year as of Tuesday afternoon, University spokesperson Martin Mbugua said.

Thirteen cases had been reported as of last Thursday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand, foot and mouth disease is a viral illness common among children under five years old.

Symptoms include reduced appetite, sore throat and malaise. Painful sores can develop in the mouth, as well as red blisters. A skin rash, sometimes with blisters, may develop on the soles of the feet, palms of the hands, knees, elbows, buttocks or genital area.

The disease can occur in adults and is spread through close contact with an infected person or contact with a contaminated object such as a doorknob. An infected person is most contagious during the first week of infection and should stay at home.

Treatment consists of symptom management including taking pain relievers to reduce fever and using mouthwash to numb mouth pain.

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