Parents of students attending Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center in New Stanton were alerted late Thursday afternoon that two students enrolled in the heating and air conditioning program at the school may have contracted hand, foot and mouth disease.
A pre-recorded telephone call delivered to parents stated that the discovery occurred at the school Wednesday and that any affected areas were sanitized.
The center serves students from 10 area school districts: Belle Vernon Area, Mt. Pleasant Area, Frazier, Norwin, Greensburg Salem, Penn-Trafford, Hempfield Area, Southmoreland, Jeannette and Yough.
In the phone call to parents, the center did not identify the home schools of the students suspected of having the illness.
Eric Westendorf, principal of the center, could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 5 years old. Symptoms include fever, blister-like sores in the mouth and a skin rash. An infected person may spread the viral illness through close personal contact, as well as coughing and sneezing.
Generally, a person with hand, foot, and mouth disease is most contagious during the first week of illness, according to the CDC. People can sometimes be contagious for days or weeks after symptoms go away. The CDC website recommends that a person with the illness should stay home while they are sick.