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Hand, Foot and Mouth cases hit Marshalltown

School district reports seven cases

May 12, 2012
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease have arrived in Marshalltown and they tend to show up mostly in young children.

Paula Rutherford, coordinator of school nurses with the Marshalltown Community School District, said there are seven known cases of the communicable disease in the elementary schools.

"From what I'm hearing it is more in the preschools and daycare centers," Rutherford said.

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Symptoms include a headache, fever and rashes around the outside and inside of the mouth and on the hands and feet. Though it can be painful in the beginning, the condition is not serious.

"We'll see it periodically," Rutherford said.

Three cases were noticed in Franklin Elementary School and two in Woodbury Elementary School. Rutherford said if more than one case shows up at a school, letters are sent home to parents of that school notifying them of it.

Students are not being kept away from school if they have the rashes, only if they have the fever.

"We want them to be fever free for 24 hours before they return," Rutherford said.

Pat Thompson, Marshall County Public Health nurse, said the Hand, Foot and Mouth cases are not reported to her so there is no way to know how much there are throughout the area. She said there are no long-term health implications for children who have the disease.

"It's a common illness," Thompson said.

Thompson said it usually starts with a fever and in one to two days painful sores in the mouth can occur. It can be spread through coughs and sneezes (saliva) and through stool. Often adults will get the disease and not experience any of the symptoms.

Thompson and Rutherford stressed handwashing as the best way to keep it from spreading.



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