UPDATE: According to both BVH nurse Paola Garcia and CTE Medical Pathway Instructor George Lafiguera, who were each approached by school administration information on mononucleosis following the rumor’s spread, there is no proven link to the ice machine being a transmission source of illness. It is nearly impossible to get mononucleosis from an ice machine, Garcia explained, unless students were spitting into it.
“I would like to think no one is doing that,” Garcia said.
There have not been any cases of tested and diagnosed mononucleosis reported to Garcia, nor the attendance office.
In addition to the precautionary measures taken by the Athletic Department which the original article mentions, the campus ice machine and other equipment related to drinking water were cleaned, according to Lafiguera.
“With that said, I think that the changes the department is incorporating are definitely good practices that we should all do: no sharing of drinking bottles and cleaning up equipment after each practice,” Garcia said.
A rumor that several student athletes contracted mononucleosis from a campus ice machine recently spread like a virus among the Bonita Vista High School community. However, these stories come three weeks after only one confirmed case of the disease at BVH: a freshman football player in early August.
“The rumors are zero percent accurate,” BVH Athletic Director Jason Murphy said. “I liken it to concussions a couple years ago. It was the big thing. One kid got a concussion and all of a sudden every kid got a concussion.”
Mononucleosis, also known as the “kissing disease,” is transmitted through bodily fluids such as saliva. While the rumors were at their peak, BVH fall sports teams were required to use disposable cups rather than water bottles and had to purchase their own ice rather than use the machine as precautionary measures.
Outside of the athletic department, BVH Principal Roman Del Rosario, Ed.D., communicated with BVH Nurse Paola Garcia and the Sweetwater Union High School District office about the possible spread of the disease, per district protocol. Garcia then contacted SUHSD Student Support Services, the body that investigates outbreaks of disease due to campus facilities with the Department of Health and Safety.
No investigation of BVH’s ice machine is currently planned nor has taken place.
“It’s something that’s beyond the level of the school site,” Del Rosario, Ed.D., said.
Several student athletes reported symptoms of mononucleosis following the confirmation of the first case. According to Murphy, football coaches instructed players to visit a doctor to get cleared to play if they believed themselves to have symptoms of the disease.
“Kids realized that if they really did have mono they would be out for a month, so they stopped saying they had mono. A couple kids had symptoms, went to the doctor, but they were just regular normal sicknesses,” Murphy said.
For now, the BVH’s athletic teams continue to use the campus ice machine and represent Bonita Vista on the court, track and field.
“Kids seem to make it into a bigger deal than it is—exaggerate,” Murphy stated. “There was no protocol [for the Athletic Department in this case]. Somebody said they had mono and we did what we thought was the right thing. It came down to one kid that had mono three weeks ago.”