San Luis Obispo County health officials are warning residents to be vigilant in light of a new virus strain causing hand, foot, and mouth disease being reported throughout the state.
Health officials announced July 19 that since the beginning of 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified a strain of the disease not previously seen—a strain that more easily infects adults.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a human virus that typically impacts infants and children, the symptoms of which include fever, poor appetite, malaise, sore throat, and mouth sores. A few days after these symptoms, skin rashes will usually appear on the hands and soles of the feet, and sometimes on the knees, elbows, and genital area.
Officials say they’ve identified a new strain that can cause more severe skin rashes and blisters, and that it’s particularly dangerous to adults. It’s spread through person-to-person contact via saliva, blister fluid, and fecal oral transmission.
Grossed out yet? Well, here’s some good news: There’s currently no treatment or vaccine. So officials are reiterating the importance of good infectious control practices, such as washing hands.
County officials say that although there haven’t been any cases reported in SLO County, Monterey County has experienced a number of cases.
Karen Smith, spokesperson for Monterey County’s Public Health Department, told New Times the disease isn’t always reported, and therefore the county doesn’t have accurate numbers for how many cases exist. However, she described the quantity as “several,” and urged residents to, above all, “always wash your hands.”
Anyone who suspects a case of HFMD or wants to get tested is urged to call the health department at 781-5577.