Update on Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

By Ministry of Health

Over the past two months an increase in the number of cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease has been recorded. Based on the analysis of data received from the health care facilities this trend was observed throughout the month of August with increases in September. It is not unusual to experience cases of hand, foot and mouth disease at this time of the year as studies show the correlation between increased incidence of this disease and heavy rainfall.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is a contagious viral illness commonly seen in young children. It affects mainly children within the age groups of 0 to 5 years but can also affect older children and adults.

The virus is spread from an infected person through their nose and throat secretions, such as saliva, drool, or nasal mucus.

The virus is also spread by fluid from blisters or scabs, feces (poop) and respiratory droplets when they cough or sneeze.

Symptoms associated with hand, foot and mouth disease include:

• Fever for 3 to 5 days

• Sore throat

• Decreased appetite and general unwell feeling

• Loose stools

• Skin rash which normally appears on the palms of the hands and fingers, soles of the feet and toes, upper buttocks and around the mouth. In some instances, the rash may only appear on the arms and legs.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is not a serious illness, it is usually mild and self-limited but in certain instances the blisters in the mouth can lead to dehydration and hospitalization of the infected child. The disease normally resolves within 7 to 10 days. The disease is very contagious given its mode of transmission and the age group affected and can often lead to outbreaks within the educational settings.

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