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Illness affecting children spreads in Virginia

'Hand, foot and mouth' disease cases increase

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ROANOKE, Va. – There’s a new warning about a contagious illness affecting children. Virginia health officials are saying there’s been an increase in cases of hand, foot and mouth disease in the commonwealth.

A Central Shenandoah Health District spokesperson sent a letter warning that cases of hand, foot and mouth disease have increased in recent weeks. The spokesperson said there have been more than 376 cases statewide involving the condition.

A Carilion Clinic expert said Monday that they’ve not seen an increase of cases in the Roanoke Valley.
Dr. Thomas Kerkering, Carilion's chief of infectious diseases, said it’s common in children under five this time of year, and washing your hands is the best way to prevent it spreading.

If a child does catch the illness, the only complication comes from an inability to swallow, so children need to stay hydrated.

"It's usually more of an outpatient illness and a lot of patients don't even come to see a doctor at the outpatient visit because most people know what it is and know how to handle it," Dr. Kerkering said.

Hand, foot and mouth disease starts with a low-grade fever. Two days later, there are painful red spots on your throat. Then, there are flat red spots on your hands and the soles of your feet.

There’s no treatment for the condition. It has to run its course.