FSU officials work to stop spread of disease

Hand, foot and mouth virus infects nearly 2 dozen students

By Mike Vasilinda - Tallahassee Bureau Chief, News4Jax.com Staff

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida State University health officials are taking preventative actions on campus after nearly two dozen students were diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease, earlier this week.

Students first started showing up with the unusual disease at the FSU wellness center on Monday.

"This illness usually lasts for a few days, and there is no medicine to treat it," said Lesley Sacher, director of the FSU Health and Wellness Center. "Blisters may form on hands, feet or in the mouth with mild fever or sore throat causing the patient to feel uncomfortable for about five days."

The outbreak, which is usually reserved for day care centers, is thought to be hurricane-related.

The university asked if the outbreak could be in any way related to a sewage spill that took place while Hurricane Hermine was hitting Tallahassee, but have yet to receive a definite answer. 

"We expect it to spike again a little bit. We think the hurricane and no electricity led to this in terms of humid, hot conditions, can't do your laundry," Sacher said. 

As Tuesday brought new cases, the university canceled fraternity and sorority rush events scheduled that night.

"I don't know if they expected it to be gone overnight. Activities resumed last night and rush is back and better than ever," said Justin Butler of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity.

People living on the university's campus are advised to sanitize their facilities with a bleach solution diluted 9-to-1 with water and use hand sanitizer. 

"It's kind of contagious, really contagious. That's all I know," said student Ayesha Wilkinson. 

There were no new cases Wednesday, but Thursday did bring another case.

FSU plans to continue its sanitation procedures for all public spaces.

The university is also working with students who are missing class because of the virus. 

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