Outbreak of hand, foot, and mouth disease at Johns Hopkins University

Posted at 12:50 PM, Oct 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-24 08:17:42-04

Johns Hopkins University says they are doing everything they can to keep their students healthy after an outbreak of hand, foot, and mouth disease hit their Homewood campus.

As of Monday night, the university says they have seen 129 cases of the disease since early September. While they say the outbreak seems to be slowing, only four new cases since late last week, they still want to educate their students about how the disease spreads.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is transmitted by close personal contact, like coughing and sneezing, or through contact with contaminated objects and surfaces. This particular virus is easy to spread because it can be transmitted for weeks after a person recovers.

Typical symptoms include fever, sore throat, fatigue, sores in the mouth, and a rash on the hands and feet. Not all people with the disease will show these symptoms, but you can still pass the virus to others. 

Because of the alarming number of people with the virus, Johns Hopkins is encouraging their community to follow some simple steps to reduce spreading the illness even more:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.  
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces with disinfectant wipes or other products. 
  • Avoid close contact with people with hand, foot, and mouth disease and do not share objects with them.   
  • If you have a fever or open sores, stay home from class until your symptoms have resolved for at least 24 hours.   
  • We are also asking faculty to be understanding if a student needs to miss classes or assignments due to illness.

University officials say they have posted lawn signs on the major quads, sent broadcast messages to students, faculty, and staff, and have been providing information everywhere they can to make sure everyone is aware of the outbreak and how to keep the virus from continuing to spread. 

Officials also say facilities has been doing extra cleaning in affected areas to also keep the virus from spreading.

There is no specific treatment for hand, foot, and mouth disease, but you can take over-the-counter medications to help relieve pain and fever.