PHILADELPHIA — Hundreds of youngsters in at least seven states have broken out in mysterious rashes, and some health investigators suspect it might be caused by a new or yet-to-be-identified virus.
The red, itchy rash appears to be more an annoyance than a serious health threat, but it has managed to temporarily close schools, worry parents and frustrate school administrators, for whom answers have been elusive.
Students in Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, Oregon and Washington state have complained about rashes on the face, arms, legs and body. For the most part, the rash goes away when the students leave school.
"For something like this to occur almost simultaneously in different parts of the country is, to my knowledge, unprecedented," said Dr. Norman Sykes, who examined 30 suburban Philadelphia students who came down with the rash this month. Sykes is a dermatologist and professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.