ALERT: Doctors Warn Viral Illness Spreading In Virginia

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Childcare providers and parents throughout Virginia are being advised about a very contagious virus that is currently spreading among children.

A letter sent out by the Central Shenandoah Health District this week warns that cases of hand, foot and mouth disease have elevated in the past few weeks.

The viral illness mainly infects children up to age 5, however, officials warn that anyone is susceptible.

Symptoms of the disease include fever, fatigue, a rash in the mouth, on the palms or soles, and sometimes painful sores.

There were a total across the state of 376 emergency department and urgent care visits that a chief complaint or a diagnosis of hand, foot and mouth disease. Or, they had symptoms consistent with that of the diagnosis,” according to Laura Kornegay, the district’s health director.

Dr. Kevin Connelly, who is a pediatrician with the Chippenham Hospital in Richmond told reporters that the disease is highly contagious.

“Runny nose,” Connelly says. “Saliva…so it’s very common in daycares and pre-school settings.”

The fever can last for up to 5 days, but there are also other reasons to be concerned.

The problem with the disease is that with the blisters in your mouth it hurts to swallow,” Dr. Connelly said. “So children don’t want to eat … don’t want to drink. They have a risk of getting dehydrated.” 

Unfortunately, there’s no treatment for the virus, and it can remain in the body for weeks after the symptoms have gone away, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

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