Three Norwin School District football players and one student trainer were diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease Monday, Norwin Athletic Director Randy Rovesti confirmed Tuesday morning.
The players had participated in Saturday against the North Hills Indians at Norwin, Rovesti said.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common viral illness usually found in infants and children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is often confused with foot-and-mouth disease, which is found in cattle, sheep and swine but is unrelated. Infection is spread through direct contact. The virus can remain undetected in the body for weeks. The disease causes a fever, mouth sores and skin rashes.
Rovesti said precautions are being taken at the school, including the disinfection of the school's fieldhouse and locker rooms. School officials are also warning students not to share water bottles or towels.
The North Hills varsity football team used the visitors' locker rooms when they were at the school Saturday. The locker room is sealed off from other areas of the fieldhouse and has not been used by the Norwin players or any other teams recently, Rovesti said.
He said he has been unsuccessful in his attempts to reach North Hills Athletic Director Dan Cardone.
It is not yet known what, if any, precautions the North Hills team is taking. Neither Cardone nor North Hills athletic trainer Eric Cardwell could be reached immediately. North Hills Patch will provide updates on this story throughout the day as more information becomes available.
There is no specific treatment for the disease, other than pain relief from the symptoms, according to the CDC.
"It sounds a whole lot worse than it is," Rovesti said. "It's no more dangerous than the common cold, our physician told us."
To limit exposure, the CDC recommends:
Washing hands frequently and correctly (see Clean Hands Save Lives) and especially after changing diapers and after using the toilet
Cleaning dirty surfaces and soiled items, including toys, first with soap and water and then disinfecting them by cleansing with a solution of chlorine bleach (made by adding 1 tablespoon of bleach to 4 cups of water)
Avoiding close contact (kissing, hugging, sharing eating utensils or cups, etc.) with persons with HFMD