Sharona Garrison thought her 2-year-old daughter was having an allergic reaction when the toddler recently developed a rash.
But the rash was followed by vomiting and a fever, and then blisters developed on daughter Naudia's feet. A trip to the emergency room and then a trip to her pediatrician led to the discovery her daughter had contracted a highly contagious virus: hand, foot and mouth disease.
According to Dr. Aaron Sackett of Pediatrics Associates, 7910 Jefferson Blvd., the virus is fairly common right now.
John Silcox, spokesperson for the Allen County-Fort Wayne Department of Health, said they are aware that the virus is spreading, but he explained that most people who have it do not contact them so they cannot officially say how widespread it is.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand, foot and mouth disease spreads from person to person by direct contact. The virus can be found in nose and throat secretions, in the fluid in blisters, and in the stool of infected persons.
Generally children from 1-to-5 years old contract the virus, but Sackett said they are currently seeing cases above that range. According to the CDC, symptoms include fever, blister-like sores in the mouth (herpangina), and a skin rash. Adults can contract the virus, although it is less likely.
The CDC cautions that even after a person appears well, they can still infect others. Garrison's doctor, for example, told her to keep her daughter away from other children for two weeks.