HEALTH officials in Eastern Visayas have urged the public to be vigilant of the “continued occurrence” of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) in the region, following the 116 HFMD cases recorded from January 1, 2023 to February 25, 2023.
Based on the latest situational report of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) dated March 6, 2023, it said they had found a significant increase compared to the 22 cases reported during the same period last year.
“HFMD is a highly contagious viral disease often affecting infants and children. Most HFMD cases are mild, self-limiting, and non-fatal, but may progress to meningitis, encephalitis, and polio-like paralysis if left unmanaged,” the Department of Health (DOH)-Eastern Visayas said.
According to the health department, HFMD is “usually transmissible through contact with nose and throat discharges, the saliva of infected persons, and/or contaminated objects.”
“However, it is important to note that the HFMD cannot be contracted from animals and should not be confused with the Foot-and-Mouth Disease in cattle, sheep, and swine,” it added.
The signs and symptoms of the disease include fever; sore throat; feeling of being unwell (malaise); painful, red, blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums, and insides of the cheeks; red rash, without itching, but sometimes with blistering on the palms, soles, or the buttocks; irritability in infants and toddlers; and loss of appetite.
Meanwhile, the health department said the preventive measures that the public can follow in managing this infectious disease include performing mandatory washing of hands with soap and water, and use of alcohol-based sanitizers, in all opportunities and occasions, especially in the hospital, household, and school settings; avoiding the sharing of personal items such as spoons, cups, and utensils; observing minimum public health standards (MPHS)—physical distancing and using appropriate personal protective equipment—especially when symptoms are present (i.e., properly fitted face mask, gloves); and isolating patients with HFMD.
“Parents/guardians are advised to ensure that children with suspected, probable, or confirmed HFMD cases should remain at home, refrain from attending school, day-care facilities, or other face-to-face activities until such time that the patient is not exhibiting symptoms anymore, and strictly adhere to the advice of a health care provider,” DOH-Eastern Visayas said.
“If symptoms persist beyond 10 days, parents/guardians are advised to seek medical consultation immediately, most especially if the symptoms become severe, or is accompanied by nervous system and cardiorespiratory signs and symptoms,” it added. (SunStar Philippines)
March 10, 2023
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