Possible herpes gladiatorum case taken seriously, Moffat County school officials say
CRAIG — When Myranda Lyons, the Moffat County School District district nurse, learned that a wrestler on the Moffat County High School team might have contracted a contagious virus, she and the district immediately took action to protect students.
“We have one unconfirmed case of a wrestler with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), the same common virus that causes cold sores. This is not an outbreak. We jumped to take preventative measures to avoid an outbreak,” Lyons said.
HSV-1, also known as herpes gladiatorum, is contagious through direct contact with open sores and contaminated fluids.
Previous outbreaks among wrestlers have earned the virus the moniker “mat herpes.”
Lyons was alerted to the potential problem Sunday, when a post on the MoCo Wrestling Facebook page — which has since been removed to protect the privacy of the student — indicated a wrestler had been diagnosed with HSV-1.
Before school began Monday, Lyons, with the help of district staff, set in motion a series of precautions.
“Mats in the wrestling room, bathrooms and locker rooms were all sanitized and disinfected. The weight room was also disinfected and is also disinfected after each class,” she said.
A notice was also sent to all students and parents on the wrestling team asking them to watch for signs and symptoms.
The district did not require students to visit the clinic for preventative treatment, nor did the district request students see a specific medical provider.
“There are no preventative treatments. If a student exhibits a rash, parents should take them to see their normal primary care provider,” Lyons said.
Following guidelines from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, any Moffat County student diagnosed with the virus will not be allowed to return to play sports until cleared with a note from a physician stating the student is no longer contagious.
A home wrestling meet originally planned for Thursday against Glenwood Springs has been canceled due to unrelated health concerns.
Superintendent Dave Ulrich emphasized that the cancellation had nothing to do with the Moffat County team.
“It’s not from us. Glenwood has been hit with the flu really, really hard,” he said.
It’s not clear when or where the infected wrestler contracted the virus or if wrestlers from other teams are infected.
“They have wrestled in other places this week. I have not spoken with any other schools or nurses at this time to learn if the virus has occurred in other places,” Lyons said.
The incubation period of the virus is between two to 12 days, and the virus can lie dormant for long periods of time in people previously infected, therefore precautionary measures are routinely taken at tournaments.
Bleach-soaked towels are left by the doors so wrestlers can clean the bottoms of their shoes when entering or exiting the gym. Skin checks are also performed on all athletes before weigh-in.
“It would not have been missed at the last tournament,” Lyons said.
Moffat County wrestlers are encouraged to practice good hygiene.
For example, Lyons recommended using Hibiclens — an antibacterial, antifungal treatment that can even prevent the spread of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA — as a home wash.
Parents who have questions or concerns are encouraged to email Moffat County School District, District Nurse Myranda Lyons, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.
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