Outbreak of Coxsackie virus sidelines sports teams

September 21, 2018 06:05 PM

Several football players are taking an unexpected and unwanted time out in Amsterdam. School officials say players on both the varsity and the junior varsity teams have confirmed cases of the Coxsackie virus, better known as hand, foot and mouth disease.

"I think parents are very concerned because of the outbreak and the fever and the blisters that are associated with hand, foot and mouth, but I'm here to tell you that it's not a deadly disease. it's not a deadly virus," said Sara Boerenko, Director of Public Health in Montgomery County.


Boerenko says the virus is commonly seen in younger children, but an outbreak at the middle or high school level is unusual.

"This is a first for us to be honest with you. We've never seen any outbreak this size in our high school or middle school in our county," she said.

Coxsackie is highly contagious and is transmitted from person to person through bodily fluids. For football players, that means saliva on water bottles and mouth guards and sweat on gear like helmets and pads.

Symptoms include sore throat, high fever, nausea, fatigue and painful blisters on the hands, feet and inside the mouth. Symptoms typically show up three to seven days after exposure and the illness can linger for 10 days after that.

Amsterdam High School's athletic director said all activities, games and practices were canceled on Thursday so crews could thoroughly clean and disinfect equipment and facilities. A game between Broadalbin-Perth scheduled for Friday night has been postponed.

Health officials are urging parents to do their part in raising awareness and stopping the spread of the virus.

"Talk to your children about the importance of not sharing water bottles, not sharing mouth guards, not sharing sports equipment and always, always wash your hands," said Boerenko.

Earlier in September, several football players in Gloversville also came down with Coxsackie. Officials there say two students in the elementary schools also tested positive.


Jacquie Slater

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