Palace calms fear on Enterovirus 71-A A +A
Saturday, July 21, 2012
DAVAO CITY -- Malacañang on Friday allayed the public's fear over the confirmed case of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) known as Enterovirus 71 or EV-71 in a local hospital here.
A 19-month-old boy has been diagnosed as having had the same virus that killed hundreds of children around Asia, but health officials said the boy has recovered.
Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda assured that the Department of Health (DOH) is highly capable of addressing the "mysterious illness" that killed 52 children in Cambodia.
"There's no cause for concern," he said.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona said in a press briefing that the boy from Davao City was the only confirmed case among eight suspected in the country to have HFMD.
He said the boy has no history of travel outside the country.
Divine Hilario, of DOH Davao Region's Health Advocacy and Promotion Cluster officer-in-charge, refused to divulge information about the sick boy.
Hilario said Dr. Cleo Fe, head of the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (Redo) of DOH in Davao Region, is the only person who is authorized to provide information, but she will be available for interview by Monday next week.
Ona said Friday that the boy had fever and rashes around his mouth and on his hands, feet and buttocks, typical symptoms of the disease. The health chief said he didn't require hospitalization and is doing well. No other member of his community in Davao City is infected.
EV-71 causes diarrhea, rashes and is sometimes associated with severe central neurological disease. The virus, which was earlier tagged as a "mystery disease" in Cambodia, caused the deaths of 52 children there.
The DOH earlier tested two HFMD patients in Manila for Enterovirus 71 but were found negative.
Ona reminded the public to remain calm since EV-71 is not new to the Philippines but it is not as fatal like that the one in Cambodia. He said there is still no vaccine for human Enterovirus.
The DOH urged the public to always maintain personal hygiene and cleanliness as the best way to prevent the virus. (HDT/Jill Beltran/Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 21, 2012.