Officials Warn Of Herpes In Schools

Two high school wrestlers and six middle school wrestlers have been infected with herpes gladiatorum after participating in a tournament last month in Huntington, prompting local health officials to take notice.

Howard Gamble, Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department administrator, said it appears only two local high schools participated in the invitational – John Marshall and Brooke. No local middle schools participated. However, Gamble said there is no way to tell what schools the infected wrestlers belong to.

According to the bureau of public health, more than 50 schools from West Virginia participated in the tournament, along with schools from three other states.

“We probably cannot get that information,” Gamble said. “We’ve tried before to go to the state health department and ask what schools, but they don’t give that information out. This one was easy to research.”

Gamble said the only large tournament held on those dates in West Virginia was the WSAZ Invitational Wrestling Tournament at Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington.

He said all county health departments received a health advisory on the matter from the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health. The health departments were then tasked with forwarding that advisory to hospitals, physicians, laboratories, school nurses and principals, coaches and athletic directors. The health advisory also gives direction on diagnostic procedures and return to play guidelines.

The informed parties are expected to keep an eye out for students with symptoms of the virus, which can includes rashes on the head, face, neck and body. Herpes gladiatorum is herpes simplex virus type 1, which is the same virus that causes cold sores. Once infected, the virus stays in one’s body for life.