McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Breaking News

State news

September 18, 2012

Severe strain of childhood virus emerges

Hand, foot and mouth disease, or HFMD, is a common childhood virus that pediatricians, day care centers and preschools see throughout summer and early fall. It causes fevers, rashes on hands and feet and blisterlike sores in the mouth, which can make drinking and eating extremely uncomfortable. It usually clears up on its own in about a week.

Now, though, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that an unusual version has hit the country, with more severe fevers and rashes, some leading to hospitalization for dehydration and pain.

The severe strain was first noticed in Alabama, Connecticut, California and Nevada last winter, which was odd because HFMD typically appears in summer and early fall.

"It's pretty much all over the country at this point," says Steven Oberste, laboratory chief in CDC's viral disease division.

HFMD is usually caused by coxsackievirus A16; the more severe illness is caused by coxsackievirus A6, which has popped up in this country only a few times in the past 40 years, according to the CDC. Both are spread through saliva, mucus, fluid from the blisters and stool.

The CDC has received about 100 to 150 reports of severe cases. "Since there's no required reporting of hand, foot and mouth disease, it's difficult to estimate how many cases are out there," Obereste says. "We have 100 to 150 reports, but clearly it's a lot more than that."

Melissa Arca, a pediatrician in Sacramento, Calif., where the disease seems to have hit hard, says there were times during the summer when she saw three or four children every day with severe HFMD, and she only works half days at her clinic. Researchers don't know if the A6 wave has peaked with the end of summer, so they're unsure whether the new school year will cause a spike in cases. Outbreaks of HFMD occur around the globe, but in recent years they have mostly been in Asia, according to the World Health Organization.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State news
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.