School officials are cleaning Derby High School after several cases of hand, foot and mouth disease and they are urging parents to check their children for signs of a blister rash on their palms, the soles of their feet and inside their mouths.
"We took immediate action disinfecting the entire school as well as the field house, locker rooms, football equipment, water bottles, you name it anything that they touched was disinfected twice so far now and we have a crew in the field house doing it for a third time just to ensure we get everything," said Matthew Conway, the superintendent of Derby Public Schools.
A letter posted on the Derby public schools site says several cases of the coxsackie virus were reported on Sept. 19.
“As a safety precaution, Derby High School will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected by the facilities management team. In addition, parents are encouraged to check your child/children for signs of a blister rash on the palms of their hands, soles of their feet and inside their mouths. Symptoms may also include a fever,” the letter to parents says.
The varsity football game scheduled for Friday has also been postponed, according to the Derby High School Athletics Twitter account.
All classrooms and the bus the football team used on Friday have been disinfected, Conway said. The team's game against Seymour on Friday has been postponed.
The soccer team's practices remain as scheduled.
The virus is spread through close personal contact, including direct contact with nose and throat.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of the virus usually start with a fever, reduced appetite, sore throat, and a feeling of being unwell.
"One or two days after the fever starts, painful sores can develop in the mouth. They begin, often in the back of the mouth, as small red spots that blister and can become ulcers. A skin rash with red spots, and sometimes with blisters, may also develop over one or two days on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet; it may also appear on the knees, elbows, buttocks or genital area," according to the CDC.
Not everyone will get all of these symptoms. Some people, especially adults, may show no symptoms at all, but they can still pass the virus to others.
The Connecticut Children's Medical Center website says there is no vaccine to prevent the virus, but hand washing is the best prevention.
"Remind everyone in your family to wash their hands often, especially after using the toilet or changing a diaper, and before preparing or eating food. Shared toys in childcare centers should be cleaned often with a disinfectant because many viruses can live on objects for a few days," the website for Connecticut Children's Medical Center says.