Health Center Says UD’s 2018 Hand Foot and Mouth Outbreak Linked to Vaping

Shayleigh Frank
News Staff Writer

Cover photo of vape smoke courtesy of Pixabay

In the wake of the news that 39 people have died and more than 2,000 have been sickened by a vaping-related illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), UD’s health center confirmed to Flyer News that last year’s outbreak of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease was linked to vaping.

In September and October 2018, there was a campus outbreak of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, which causes mouth sores and a rash on hands and feet. The health center saw 20 students with this diagnosis. 

According to the health center director, Dr. Mary Buchwalder, “Our staff noted that many of the students with this diagnosis shared Juul or another vaping products. We often heard, ‘I don’t own one, but I’ll take a hit off my friend’s (Juul).’”

See also- Government To Restrict Vape Sales After Deaths, Illnesses

If a student has any kind of virus that is spread either by saliva or airborne droplets, especially an extremely contagious virus such as the one that causes Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, shared vaping devices quickly pass such viruses to others. 

This kind of sharing and exchange of saliva or “airborne droplets” lead to a fast spreading of the disease, and the health center has some advice for students going forth.  

“People should never share drinks, lip balm, vaping devices, or other things they put into their mouths,” Buchwalder said. “Good general hygiene (covering coughs and sneezes, good handwashing, use of hand sanitizer) and adequate sleep also reduce the risk of acquiring and spreading illness.”

If you have any questions on this issue or the vaping controversy, you can reach the writer at

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