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Mets' Syndergaard Stricken By Virus Normally Seen In Toddlers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Just when you thought the Mets had suffered nearly every type of injury a baseball player can have, they managed to find a new one.

Pitcher Noah Syndergaard was placed on the disabled list with a disease that normally affects toddlers. Not to be confused with foot and mouth disease which affects livestock, hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by the Coxsackie virus. It's most common among young children, but it can strike young adults like the Mets flamethrower.

It started Friday night against the Yankees, when coaches saw that Syndergaard had lost velocity off his often hundred mile-per-hour fastball. Later that night he noticed red splotches and blisters on his hands, a tell-tale sign of hand, foot, and mouth disease. It's a condition usually seen by pediatricians, not trainers in the Major Leagues.

"Adults rarely get Coxsackie, although a couple of times I've seen it they are laid low," pediatrician Dr. Laura Popper said. "It's like taking what happens to a kid and multiplying it by a lot. They're just not used to being that sick."

It's the blisters that form on the hands and feet that are uncomfortable, but the blisters in the mouth are what make kids and adults miserable. It all starts out like most other viruses.

"Starts with a fever and just feeling lousy, but the mouth blisters mean they don't want to eat or drink because it hurts," Dr. Popper said.

In all, the lousy feeling usually sticks around for a week. The question this time is where exactly did Syndergaard pick up the normally pediatric infection? A prime suspect is the baseball camp he hosted last Thursday for dozens of young kids. The virus is highly contagious, and can survive on surfaces contaminated by sneezes, coughs, and unwashed hands after a bathroom visit. Rubbing eyes, mouth, or nose can transmit the infection. In this case, 36-hours is on the short end of the virus's incubation period.

There's no cure or specific treatment for an infection, just over the counter medications to lower the fever and ease blister pain. Parents also needn't worry if their child was at the camp, recovery should be complete soon.

"This is one of those diseases I'm not concerned about," Dr. Popper said. "Even as miserable as they are for a while, they get better."

Coxsackie usually runs its course in about a week, so the Mets expect Syndergaard may be out of the rotation for just one start. Recovery should be complete, although Dr. Popper did point out that the blisters on the fingers are more of a problem for pitchers than most players.

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