(03/11/2011)
RULES PREVENT CONFIRMATION OF COMMUNICABLE DISEASES

By Bob Weaver

The West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources says that additional high school wrestlers in several counties now have confirmed cases of Herpes Gladiatorium.

Originally, the agency said five wrestlers in one West Virginia school had contracted the disease.

The DHHR says it is in the interest of patient confidentiality not to release the schools or county names where the outbreaks have occurred.

Calhoun Schools has declined to confirm a problem at Calhoun Middle-High School, indicating confidentiality regulations must be maintained regarding the outbreak.

In Calhoun, parents have complained that outbreaks of communicable diseases have not been shared with them, in addition to not being released to media.

Reportedly, all wrestlers have been notified regarding the risk.

DHHR has yet to release the number of wrestlers or students who have become infected.

Calhoun Superintendent of Schools Roger Propst said yesterday the local school system is in compliance with WV Department of Education policy, which says, "All persons privileged with any medical information that pertains to students or staff members shall be required to treat all proceedings, discussions and documents as confidential information."

"In the interest of patient confidentiality, DHHR will not release the school or county names. Guidelines on recognition and management of Herpes Gladiatorum have been shared statewide with schools, school athletic communities, and healthcare providers to support proper prevention and management," according to Patrick Burke, Epidemiologist with the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department.

The highly contagious virus is contracted through skin-to-skin contact and can take up to eight days to appear after exposure.

While the disease is prevalent with wrestlers, it can be passed to others through direct contact.

Calhoun Middle-High School, while not confirming the presence of the disease, is making school-wide efforts at disinfection.

See related story CALHOUN SCHOOL OFFICIALS NOT CONFIRMING HERPES OUTBREAK - State Officials Say Five Wrestling Team Members Affected


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