2 New Jersey High School Football Teams Cancel Games After Several Players Contract Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease

POMPTON PLAINS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Another New Jersey high school football team has been benched because of a virus that’s been spreading.

CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported the Pequannock High School football team canceled a game against Boonton this Friday after eight members of the team came down with the coxsackievirus, better known as hand, foot and mouth disease.

The team has not been allowed to practice on the field for almost a week as it was disinfected several times after the players came down with the virus. Three other players are also showing symptoms.

“I mean, they have it under control,” said student Sydni Nardino. “They did the whole entire field and the locker room.”

Superintendent Brett Charleston said the disease was initially reported to them Aug. 29 by three players, but drastic measures were taken to cancel all athletic activities when they found out about the others.

“So at that point we contacted the school doctor. The school doctor said it’s in the best interest of the students to cancel practice and postpone the first game on Sept. 9,” said Charleston.

Charleston added that this will not affect the playoffs.

Don Bosco High School in Bergen County has taken the same measures after the virus started spreading on its football team.

Dr. Gail Shust, an infectious disease specialist at the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said the virus is very common in schools in the fall.

“You can get by either respiratory secretions from your nose, your mouth, sneezing, coughing, that sort of thing, or fecal oral, like something doesn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, things like that,” explained Shust.

The virus carries symptoms much like the flu – fever, sore throat, cough, a rash and blisters in the mouth. The best way to protect against the virus is to wash hands and cover the mouth when sneezing.

Some students, especially those who use the field, said they wished they had been notified immediately.

“The fevers, the sore throat, just feeling crappy,” said grandparent Evelyn Garrison.

However, most said the district handled it well.

“It’s just affecting a couple of the students and I don’t think it’s an outbreak or anything like that,” said parent Susan Stringer.

Coxsackie gets its name from a village in upstate New York, where the first human cases of the virus were identified.

It was discovered by scientists investigating small outbreaks of polio in upstate communities in 1947.

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