Philippines: Hand, foot and mouth disease increase reported in the Eastern Visayas, with Leyte reporting the most


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The Department of Health’s Eastern Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH-EVCHD) is informing the public in a health advisory report published this week about the continuing incidence of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) in the region.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD)
Photo/Sean J

Based on the latest situation report of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU), the district has already recorded a total of 116 HFMD cases from January 1, 2023 to February 25, 2023 – a significant increase compared to the 22 cases reported during the same period last year.

Leyte province has the highest number of cases, with the majority of those affected being male, and extending from infants to 17-year-olds.

HFMD is a highly contagious viral disease that most often affects infants and children. Most cases of HFMD are mild, self-limiting, and not fatal, but may progress to meningitis, encephalitis, and polio-like paralysis if left untreated. It is usually transmitted through contact with nasal and throat secretions, saliva of infected persons, and/or contaminated objects, however, it is important to note that HFMD cannot be transmitted from animals and should not be confused with foot-and-mouth disease in cattle, sheep, and pigs.

Here are some of the signs, symptoms, and preventative measures the public can take in managing this infectious disease:

Signs and symptoms:

1. Fever

2. Sore throat.

3. feeling unwell (malaise);

4. Painful, red, pimple-like lesions on the tongue, gums, and insides of the cheeks.

5. A red skin rash, without itching, but sometimes with blistering on the palms, soles or buttocks.

6. Irritability in infants and young children. And

7. Loss of appetite.

Preventative measurements:

1- Obligatory washing of hands with soap and water, and the use of alcohol-based sanitizers, on all occasions and occasions, especially in hospitals, at home and at school;

2. Avoid sharing personal items such as spoons, cups, and utensils;

3. Observe MPHS Minimum Public Health Standards – physical distancing and use of appropriate personal protective equipment – especially when symptomatic (eg, properly fitted face mask and gloves);

4. Isolation of patients with HFMD.

5. Parents/guardians are advised to ensure that children with suspected, probable, or confirmed cases of HFMD stay home, or refrain from attending school, day care facilities, or other face-to-face activities until such time as the patient is no longer visible symptoms any longer, and strictly adhere to the healthcare provider’s advice;

6. If symptoms persist for more than 10 days, parents/guardians are advised to seek medical advice immediately, especially if symptoms become severe or are accompanied by neurological and cardiorespiratory signs and symptoms.

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