Greg Jannetta

With just a few weeks left before Magic Valley students head back to the classroom, a state health department is reminding parents of a highly contagious virus that targets young kids.

Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease--of which there is no treatment for--is easily passed on by infected children who come into contact with the virus, according to an Idaho Department of Health and Welfare warning issued on July 16. Poor hygiene results in a greater risk for contracting the illness.

The viral infection takes between seven and 10 days to run its course, and usually targets kids five and younger. Symptoms include a rash--it can be found in the throat, as well as the feet and body--fever and sore throat. Infants typically get the illness by coming into contact with an infected child's mucus, feces or open sores.

Washing your child's hands regularly can help prevent spreading. Parents are also advised to make sure they clean their hands well after changing diapers. Contact your family doctor immediately if your child has symptoms.

For more information on HFMD, click here.