Six students have sought treatment at University Health Services for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD), according to a campus alert emailed to the student body on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
Symptoms of HFMD include fever, reduced appetite, sore throat, and a feeling of being unwell. According to the email, those symptoms can be followed by painful sores in the mouth and a skin rash with red spots or blisters on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet a few days after the fever.
In the email, UHS Director of Medical Services Jonathan Pletcher advised students to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, to avoid contact with those infected with HFMD, and to clean any contaminated surfaces with a bleach-based cleaner or one containing alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride.
He also noted that there is no specific treatment for HFMD, other than over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and fever and the use of mouthwashes that numb mouth pain.
UHS Global and Community Health Physician Irene Daskalaki described the cases of HFMD to The Daily Princetonian as “sporadic,” saying that the cases of HFMD on campus were from different classes and dorms and that it is unlikely that there is any pattern or particular concentration in which the disease is spreading.
“We don’t have specific evidence of transmission within the campus,” Daskalaki said.
She also emphasized that there are always viruses present on campus, and HFMD should be treated with the same concern and caution as any other.
“They should be concerned like they would for any other virus,” Daskalaki said. “The precaution is the same for all of them.”
University spokesperson Ben Chang deferred comment to Daskalaki.