Skin infection puts a hold on Lake Stevens wrestling

By Sharon Salyer

Herald Writer

Practice and competitions for Lake Stevens High School’s wrestling team have been canceled for 10 days after three athletes were diagnosed with the skin form of herpes, the same virus that causes cold sores.

A fourth student is suspected of having the virus and is being checked by his doctor, school district spokeswoman Arlene Hulten said Thursday.

School officials want to ensure that no other team members have contracted the disease. Symptoms usually appear two to seven days after exposure.

Wrestling coaches at Kamiak and Lynnwood high schools also were contacted because the Lake Stevens wrestler who is suspected of having the virus wrestled with members of those two teams Wednesday night.

"We would never want to have a student wrestle anyone if they had this condition, and we do everything to prevent that," Hulten said, adding that wrestlers are checked by coaches and referees for skin problems.

"Certainly, we wouldn’t send athletes out there (to wrestle) who had herpes and it’s visible," she said.

The virus officially is known as herpes simplex type 1 or herpes gladiatorum. It is thought to be one of the most common infections spread by person-to-person contact during athletic activity.

The infection is spread by contact with an opponent’s skin lesions or virus-bearing saliva. On the skin, it causes small, fluid-filled blisters that spread the disease when they are rubbed and broken open. When the resulting scab heals, the virus is thought to be noncommunicable, said Dr. Chris Spitters of the Snohomish Health District.

"Almost every wrestling season, we seem to hear about it at least once in the metropolitan area," he said.

Once a person has become infected, the virus may not recur, but is "present or dormant in the nerve cells that supply the skin," Spitters said.

Health officials usually recommend that athletes be held out of competition while they have the active form of the disease, he said.

A 1996 investigation by the Snohomish Health District and the Washington State Department of Health found that 21 percent of 249 high school wrestlers and coaches had either possible or confirmed cases of the virus.

The Lake Stevens team will miss a varsity tournament and its first league match during the 10-day period while contact practice and matches are suspended.

Letters are being sent home to parents of team members to explain the problem.

All three high schools are consulting with a Western Washington University physician who often advises athletes on the condition and attends state tournaments.

At Kamiak, contact wresting practice has been temporarily suspended until a doctor can be consulted, although running and weight-lifting exercises are continuing, as they are at Lake Stevens.

It may affect next week’s scheduled matches on Tuesday and Thursday, said Kamiak wrestling coach Bill Donnelly.

Lynnwood’s wrestling coach said that the one member of his team who competed against the Lake Stevens wrestler suspected of having skin herpes will be held out of practice as a precaution until coaches know for sure if the Lake Stevens athlete has the skin virus.

"If we have any signs of anything, we’ll have him see a doctor immediately," said coach Kevin Judkins.

"We’ve never had a case at Lynnwood High School," he added.

During Wednesday night’s wresting competition, "We did very careful skin checks," he said. "There were no signs of it last night."

You can call Herald Writer Sharon Salyer at 425-339-3486 or send e-mail to

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the Cascade Range and Olympic Mountains on Wednesday. (Provided by the National Weather Service)
Red flag warning issued for eastern Snohomish County through Wednesday

The National Weather Service says critical fire conditions are either imminent or occurring now.

Traffic camera shows Everett and Marysville firefighters on the scene of a crane accident along northbound I-5 near milepost 198 Tuesday evening. (Provided photo)
Two workers fall from I-5 bridge Tuesday evening

The workers were in a “cherry picker” type bucket when it tipped over. One man fell 60 feet into the water and was taken to the hospital.

Everett motorcyclist dies on Highway 99

Alexis Hernandez Cerritos was riding south on Highway 99 when a car driving north turned in front of him.

Cash is used for a purchase at Molly Moon's Ice Cream in Edmonds, Washington on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Everett’s rival minimum wage proposals: Second group submits signatures

Supporters from Raise the Wage Responsibly said their proposal strikes a balance between employees and employers.

Components of downtown Marysville’s new stormwater treatment facility can be seen from the walkway on Thursday, July 11, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. While much of the treatment and filtering happens out of sight, visitors of the area will see troughs, left, spilling water out onto the surrounding landscape, which soaks up the filtered water before it makes its way into a nearby lagoon. Overflow grates, right, help alleviate flooding during heavy rains. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
At new Marysville water treatment facility, plants filter out pollutants

City officials expect the $14 million project to clean 110 million gallons of water every year, reducing harm to wildlife.

Everett man sentenced to jail for threatening to bomb car dealership

The sentencing of Michael Harsh comes over two years after he threatened to bomb an Evergreen girls basketball game.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.