Update on Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease on Forest Grove Campus

Pacific University Community Members,

As previously communicated, we have had students impacted by Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) on the Forest Grove Campus. The university initially took a conservative approach to try to limit exposure to others until it could learn more information from the medical community about how this illness spreads. 

The illness is very common and is caused by a virus that can be transmitted through contact with mucus from the nose, saliva and fluid from open rashes/sores. Symptoms often include flulike symptoms such as a sore throat, fever, reduced appetite, body aches and general malaise. It also often includes a rash/sores mainly to the mouth, palms of hands and soles of feet. Those infected with the virus normally recover without medical treatment in 7 to 10 days. The virus rarely causes complications. There is not currently a vaccine available for Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, and treatment options include oral pain relievers (e.g. Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen), throat lozenges and other home care measures. 

The Student Health Center has been consulting with the Washington County Health Department and Center for Disease Control, and has determined that the best response is to treat it like any other communicable illness (such as a cold). Below are recommended guidelines to follow: 

When to stay home/miss classes/sports

  • If you have a fever of 100.4 or higher, have open rashes/sores (most rashes/sores remain closed), are coughing/sneezing a lot (not a typical symptom with Hand, Foot and Mouth), or are feeling ill, stay home or in your room. Communicate with professors and coaches, and ask a roommate or friend to bring you meals. Avoid going to class or to the UC for meals, and do not participate in sports.
  • If you do not have the above symptoms (or if you do have a rash, but sores are closed) and you feel well enough to be out and about, you may go to class and to the UC to eat and return to sports activity. You can follow their normal routine and do not need to wear a mask or gloves.

Prevention

A reminder to everyone that taking a few simple steps will decrease the likelihood of getting sick. 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or hand sanitizer.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, including phones and laptops. 
  • Avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils, cups, water bottles or food, with people who are infected.
  • As with any illness, it’s good to do extra cleaning/disinfecting of personal space, as well. Custodial will continue with the deep cleaning and disinfecting of public spaces.

Questions?

If you are a student, or know of a student who thinks they may be ill and needs care or has questions, please advise them to CALL the Student Health Center first rather than walk in, as doing so can expose other people to germs. The Health Center can be reached at 503-352-2269.

Oct. 5, 2018