CDC finds itchy rash virus afflicts nearly half of students
Nearly half the students at the College have now reported symptoms of the virus that causes upper respiratory problems and an itchy rash.
Director of Health Services Jack Turco said the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta asked 1,000 students to participate in an Internet survey last week to determine what kinds of symptoms students with this virus have. A representative from the CDC is currently on campus to investigate the situation.
One of the major objectives of the survey was to determine how many people have the upper respiratory symptoms of the virus and how many have the rash, he said. "The CDC wants to try to characterize the illness," Turco said.
The survey projected up to 45 percent of students have the virus. Half of that number showed the rash as a symptom, Turco said.
He said the CDC and College Health Services see no need to place any restrictions on the campus because the symptoms are relatively mild.
Turco said when the CDC looks into an illness, it tries to determine the virus' source.
"They want to try to track the illness, what causes it, how it spreads and what specifically the symptoms are and how many people had it," he said.
Turco said the CDC so far has been unable to find the virus and probably will not succeed.
"All the cultures at this point have come out negative," he said. "According to the CDC, it is not unusual for the virus not to be identified."
Turco also said there has been a decline in new reports of virus symptoms.
"Last weekend we saw a dramatic decline," he said. "You have got to remember that the cold symptoms are always around in the background."
Turco said there is nothing that can be done to eliminate the virus from a person's body.
"All you can really treat are the symptoms," he said. "The body has to treat the virus itself."
Turco previously told The Dartmouth the rash typically begins on the neck.
He said other relatively mild symptoms -- including a sore throat, dry cough and mild fever -- sometimes accompany the virus.
Turco said the virus may last up to three and a half weeks, depending on the individual.