Rare infectious disease has football program in deep cleanse

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

A Pittsburgh-area high school football team is facing facility restrictions and the need to use only personal water bottles because of a disease rarely seen afflicting those above the age of 10: Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD).

Norwin football
Norwin football

According to the Associated Press, Norwin (Penn.) High's football program is currently in the midst of serious decontamination measures to keep the rare outbreak of HFMD from spreading beyond the two football players who have already been diagnosed with the disease.

While officials are cautiously optimistic that the disease will not spread behind its current victims, they weren't willing to take their chances with facilities they way they are, with maintenance crews brought in to completely disinfect all of the school's locker rooms and its field house.

Unsurprisingly, those precautions have crimped the style of the Norwin players, who suddenly are unable to shower at school, have to carry their own water bottles and towels throughout the day (and during practice).

Of course, there's plenty powerful motivation to ensure that the teens will continue to follow that advice, with the repercussions of HFMD sufficiently gruesome: Those who get the disease traditionally have widespread blister-like sores inside their mouth, occasionally obtain a skin rash and carry a constant fever.

While there's little good news to come out of the surprising outbreak, at least HFMD is not Hoof and Mouth Disease (HMD), also called Foot and Mouth Disease, an infection that befalls cloven hoofed animals and is often confused with HFMD. Not surprisingly, the outlook for those who catch HFMD is much better than animals with HMD, so the Norwin players currently suffering mouth sores and fever should be fit to return to practice and football games soon.

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