Hand, foot, and mouth disease outbreak at Princeton University

PRINCETON, N.J. (WPVI) -- More than a dozen students at Princeton University have been diagnosed with hand, foot, and mouth disease.

It's a virus that can cause painful sores on the skin, and it's contagious.

The Princeton University students we spoke with are fully aware of the on-campus outbreak.

Princeton senior Lillian Xu tells us, "We've heard about it on the campus newspaper. And I don't actually know anyone personally, but it's definitely concerning."

Since Sept. 17, 19 Princeton students have been treated at the university's McCosh Health Center for the disease.

School officials are concerned because last year there was only one diagnosed case at the school, and it's a disease most commonly seen in young children.

Symptoms include fever, sore throat and reduced appetite. One or two days after the fever develops, small, painful, red spots, which often blister, begin to appear in the mouth. That's followed by a skin rash with red spots on the palms of hands and soles of the feet.

Students say it certainly doesn't sound pleasant, but after the way the school handled other outbreaks in the past, they believe this one will be handled properly as well.

Quinn Prechel, a junior at the university, says, "As with meningitis in the past couple of years, I think the university has done a good job to contain it and, if it's a big problem, to inform the student body."

And grad student Julia Reed tells us, "It sounds very scary - hand, foot, and mouth disease - but it sounds like something that can definitely be treated pretty easily. And I think University Health Services has a pretty good handle on it."

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is commonly treated with over-the-counter pain and fever medications. Most patients recover in seven to 10 days.
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