Rare Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease Seen In Washoe

RENO, NV - A rare form of a hand, foot and mouth disease has made an appearance in northern Nevada, infecting 30 kids and their parents at a local day care center.

The disease causes sores and rashes as well as a low grade fever. It's usual victims are children, though adults can catch it as well.

Coxsachie virus A-6 is usually seen in Asia and Europe, but there was a recent outbreak in Alabama and scattered cases in California and Connecticut.

"I expect there will be more," says Dr. Randall Todd of the Washoe County Health Department.

Another version of the virus coxsachie A-16 is more commonly seen here usually in the summer months.

The first cases of A-6 infections began showing up in early February, a clue that this outbreak was something different. The severity of the sores and their location beyond the hands, feet and mouth were another.

Pictures of cases on the Centers for Disease Control website are scary and the possibility of a secondary infection is always a concern, but Dr. Todd says the disease isn't usually serious.

"It's a very uncomfortable disease for these kids to get and some of the pictures look pretty bad, but most patients get better on their own."

In any case, it's a virus and antibiotics can't touch it.
It can also withstand most antiseptics, but not bleach.

That's good because, Dr. Todd says, the most effective way to deal with the disease is keeping infected kids at home and disinfecting surfaces and items like toys with a solution of 2 tablespoons of bleach to 4 cups of water.

He also advises parents to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, especially after changing diapers or preparing food and to avoid close contact like hugging or kissing and sharing eating utensils.

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