It's not even the start of the cold and flu season, but already one school in Coquitlam is dealing with a common virus.
On Wednesday, a letter was sent home to students and parents at Hillcrest Middle alerting them to a confirmed case of hand-foot-and-mouth disease at the school.
According to school district officials, one student was diagnosed with the virus and has not been back to school since. A spokesperson for the district said it is standard procedure to send a letter home informing the entire parent community when a case has been reported.
The district said the illness is quite common, but did not have an exact number of cases reported each year.
According to the school's letter and the BC Health Guide, hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a common childhood illness that starts with a fever and then causes sores in the mouth and on the hands and feet.
It usually goes away on its own after a week. The virus spreads easily through coughing and sneezing. The disease can occur at any time of the year, but is most common in the summer and fall.
To prevent the spread of the illness, the health guide recommends washing hands after changing the diaper of an infected child.
The district decided to inform parents in part because of the implications the disease has for pregnant women and people with lowered immune systems.
Anyone seeking more information can contact Fraser Health at 604-778-8700.
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