Texas boys aged five and one ‘caught hand, foot and mouth disease from water parks’

Luke Andrews, Senior Health Reporter, DailyMail.com

15:49 04 June 2024, updated 15:59 04 June 2024

Two boys in Texas contracted a virus that causes painful sores in their mouths after playing at a water park.

In the first case, a one-year-old child was hospitalised with seizures and red lumps on his skin due to hand, food and mouth disease (HFMD) – an illness he is claimed to have contracted at a water park at the southern end of the state.

The baby was taken to the doctor by his mother, Guadalupe Rodríguez, after he also suffered a wound on his throat which was beginning to ‘close up’.

And in another case, a five-year-old boy named Javier visited a different water park in San Antonio during a school trip, leaving him with painful rashes and welts all over his body.

Pediatricians are warning parents to be vigilant for the disease, as severe cases can lead to seizures – they say infections tend to spike during the early summer and fall months.

A one-year-old child suffered seizures and was hospitalized after being infected with hand, foot and mouth disease. This Texas child is pictured above
Bumps on the foot of a one-year-old patient suggestive of foot-and-mouth disease
The one-year-old also had wounds on his hand, which his mother initially dismissed as mosquito bites.

Experts have warned that if water in water parks is not properly treated, a highly infectious disease could spread there, putting young people at greater risk of infection.

HFMD — which is caused by the coxsackievirus 16 virus — typically causes fever, vomiting and a rash on the mouth, hands and feet that clears up within 10 days.

But in very young patients, the disease can be much more severe and cause seizures due to swelling of the fluid surrounding the brain.

The disease is highly contagious, and spreads through contact with fluids from an infected person – such as from blisters – and by swallowing contaminated water.

Ms Rodriguez – who lives in Harlingen on the Texas-Mexico border – told the local station Valley Central News She said her one-year-old son became seriously ill when she took him to play at her apartment complex’s splash pad.

The boy initially had small rashes on his hands and around his mouth, which his mother attributed to mosquito bites.

But by the next morning, they had spread to his entire body — with the young man also developing a red rash, sores in his mouth and a fever of 106 degrees Fahrenheit.

A five-year-old boy named Javier also became infected with the disease after visiting a water park in San Antonio. His symptoms are shown in the picture above
Xavier is pictured above playing in the water in the happier days before he was infected
He developed symptoms three days after visiting Pearsall Park in San Antonio, Texas, on a school trip

He was taken to doctors in Mexico because he couldn’t get one locally, where he was diagnosed with possible HFMD through a throat swab, and then suffered a febrile seizure, or convulsions caused by fever.

Ms Rodriguez, whose son fell ill in mid-May, said: ‘Initially, we thought it was just mosquito bites. [on his arms],

‘But, the next day we saw that his entire body was covered with wounds and rashes.

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‘On Sunday, we noticed it was getting a lot worse. His rash was getting redder, he started getting something in his mouth and his throat was closing up.’

He is now believed to be recovering at home, and doctors say it could take at least two weeks for him to be free from the infection.

In another case, San Antonio mother Abigail Rodriguez said her 5-year-old son, Xavier, was fine when he went to Pearsall Park for a field trip.

But three days later, he suddenly developed a red rash around the area around his mouth, which was diagnosed as HFMD. The young man also had a fever of 101F.

Ms Rodriguez, who revealed the matter last week, said online: ‘I would not recommend you all to come here in the summer and bring your children here’ – in reference to Pearsall Park.

‘My son and I went here for a trip three days ago and he got HFMD.’

He said, ‘It was no joke, he had a 101 degree fever and he was in pain, my poor baby.’

Both mothers claim that their children contracted the infection at the water park, although this has not yet been officially confirmed.

There appears to be no connection between the two infections, with HFMD cases tending to increase in early summer, as higher temperatures allow the virus to survive longer outside the body.

Pearsall Park is governed by the San Antonio City Council, which opened the space — and its splash pad area — in 2016.

Dr. Asim Zameer, a physician at Valley Regional Medical Center, warns parents that cases tend to increase this time of year.

He said: ‘Humidity and hot weather promote the spread of the virus. [the virus] will divide more and become more contagious or more infectious.’

It is estimated that about 10 to 15 million cases of HFMD are reported each year in the United States — mostly in children under the age of five.

Patients may have the rash for up to two weeks, after which they can spread the disease to others.

People who are infected are advised to take over-the-counter pain medications to relieve fever and pain caused by mouth ulcers.

Patients are also asked to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, which can occur because mouth ulcers make swallowing painful.

Children suffering from this disease should avoid contact with other people for at least seven days to prevent spreading the infection.


Disclaimer : The content in this article is for educational and informational purposes only.

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