No need to panic over hand, foot and mouth disease
The Education Ministry says the decision on whether to suspend classes at schools affected by the outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease will be left to the discretion of administrators.
Education Minister Ronnie Thwaites says the ministry is taking seriously the outbreak among students in nine schools across Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine very seriously.
However, he has cautioned that there is no need for panic.
Thwaites has acknowledged that there could be more unreported cases and noting that the disease is very contagious has urged school administrators to give priority to the health of their students.
The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) announced last evening that it was closely monitoring the outbreak.
It says the health departments in the three parishes have been working closely with the affected schools to minimise the spread of the disease and that public health inspectors have been deployed to the schools to assess the situation.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is a viral illness that is common in infant and children.
SERHA says some symptoms of the disease include fevers, poor appetite, sore throat as well as blister-like eruptions on the tongue, skin and inside the cheek.
It says the disease can be spread through direct contact with mucus in the throat and nose, saliva as well as fluid from the blister of an infected person.