- Associated Press - Friday, September 12, 2014

NEWPORT, Vt. (AP) - The North Country Union High School football cancelled its Friday night football game with Burr and Burton in Manchester after more than half of the team from the Newport school came down with a contagious viral illness that is not usually serious.

Starting Thursday afternoon, several North Country football players went to the nurse’s office with flu-like symptoms, throat pain and red spots on their hands. More students were affected as the day went on.

The Caledonian Record reported the disease was hand, foot and mouth disease, which is not to be confused with hoof and mouth disease.

After the outbreak was reported, the Vermont Health Department posted on its website a report about the disease. It’s caused by viruses and infants and children under 5 are more likely to be affected, but older children and adults can also be infected.

“That’s what’s kind of strange,” said North Country Athletic Trainer Chelsea Bohannon. “Usually you see outbreaks like this with young kids in daycare situations. Even one of the nurses said she’s not sure she’s ever seen it in the high school level before, and she’s been the nurse here for years and years. We were just surprised that we were having it.”

It usually begins with a fever, reduced appetite, sore throat and feeling unwell. Sores can develop in the mouth and a skin rash may develop on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

Most patients recover without medical treatment in a week to 10 days.

Serious complications are possible, but they are rare.

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