Officials monitoring Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease among pre-schoolers

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The Ministry of Health said on Monday that it will continue to monitor and apprise the nation as “several cases” of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) were diagnosed among some pre-schoolers at “certain” Early Childhood Centres on mainland St. Vincent.

The Ministry did not say how many students were affected or in what parts of the country, but, in a statement from the Chief Medical Officer, encouraged parents and guardians of pre-schoolers to contact their healthcare provider for more information and advice.

The Ministry, however, noted that the disease detected among the nation’s children is not the same as Foot and Mouth Diseases that occurs in animals, namely cattle, sheep, and while.

“There is no relationship between these two diseases. Foot and Mouth Disease is not transmitted from animals to humans,” said the statement, which further stated, “We take this opportunity to reassure citizens that this is by and large a benign viral illness which does not cause significant morbidity or mortality and must not be confused with Foot and Mouth Disease of animals.

HFMD is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 5 years old. However, it can sometimes occur in adults, according to the U.S. Centre for Disease Control.

According to the Ministry of Health statement, while health officials here do not conduct routine surveillance for HFMD because of it “limited public health significance”, reports from medical practitioners and a “limited number” of Early Childhood Centres indicate that there has been “some increased incidence” of illness due to the disease.

“The virus which causes HFMD is spread from person to person by direct contact with an infective virus, the Ministry said.

“In children who are ill, the virus is found in nose and throat secretions, infected blisters which may appear on the food, hand, and mouth, and also in stool,” according to the statement.

The illness usually self-limiting and present with fever, general feelings of wellness, and a typical rash to the sole of the feet, the palms of the hands, and the mouth, the Ministry further said.

There are no specific treatment for HFMD and its spread is contained by applying hygienic methods, including washing hands with soap and running water, disinfecting surfaces and soiled items, including toys, play areas, and avoiding close contact with ill persons.

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3 thoughts on “Officials monitoring Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease among pre-schoolers


    Posted by Peter | March 12, 2012, 14:59
  2. Information from this ministry has not been accurate, and I have to take this information with a grain of salt. Parents with kids at the affected schools should be notified. This is also an opportunity for the parents and schools to start a campaign to get children and adults to wash their hands at all times, especially after using the toilet.

    Posted by Vere | March 12, 2012, 21:22
  3. When my daughter was about a year old, I took her to the pediatrician’s office for a well check appointment. My son was three at the time. Both of my children played with the toys in the pediatrician’s waiting room before we were called into the examination room. Some days later they both had symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease.

    I called the pediatrician’s office to inquire whether they had seen many cases of hand, foot and mouth disease. The receptionist said, “Oh yes.” I then told her my children contracted the virus from their waiting room toys. She then said, “Oh no.” I said, “Oh yes.” She continued to deny this was possible. I explained to her neither of my children had been around other children in the previous days to our appointment and were not in daycare or preschool. She got rather quiet and couldn’t wait to get off the telephone.

    It was a tough but valuable lesson. From that point on, I would never let my children play with waiting room toys, and I always brought toys or books from home. After some months the pediatrician wised up and removed the toys from her waiting room altogether.

    Posted by Monica | June 5, 2012, 22:03

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