Naugatuck schools warn of surge in coxsackie virus

NAUGATUCK — Schools officials are warning of an increased prevalence of a flu-like virus among students.

On Wednesday morning, Naugatuck High School nurses sent a letter to parents asking them to keep their children at home if they show symptoms of the coxsackie virus, also known as hand-foot-mouth disease.

The virus usually affects children under 5, but older children and adults can contract it. The symptoms are fever, sore throat and a rash that may develop in the mouth, and on the hands, feet and diaper area.

The pathogen is spread through contact with contaminated objects and feces, and through the air from coughing or sneezing, the letter says. People with the illness are most contagious during the first week.

Children with symptoms should stay home from school, according to the letter. They should not return until they’re fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of medication, and they must not have open sores.

Children sent home with an undiagnosed rash must provide a note from their medical provider that says the rash is not contagious before returning to school.

Anyone with questions may contact their school nurse.