Alert as school struck by virus
PARENTS are being put on alert after an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease at a school in Weston-super-Mare.
A number of children who attend Christ Church Church of England School have been struck down by the condition, which causes painful mouth ulcers and a non-itchy red rash on hands and feet. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, cough, high temperature and sometimes painful blisters.
The disease is a relatively common viral infection, which mainly affects children of both sexes aged under 10, although occasionally adults can also be affected.
The infection is not related to foot and mouth disease, which affects livestock, and cannot be caught from an animal, says the NHS. Instead it is spread in much the same way as the common cold, particularly when someone with the disease coughs or sneezes.
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People usually become infected by picking up the virus on their hands from contaminated objects and then placing their hands near their mouth or nose.
This means a person can still pass the hand foot and mouth disease on to others if they do not wash their hands properly after going to the toilet and they then touch objects that are handled by others.
Normally the condition clears up without treatment after about seven days and the NHS says it does not pose a serious threat to a child's health, although it is unpleasant.