Fri | Feb 28, 2020

Hand, foot and mouth disease surfacing in Hanover

Published:Monday | December 16, 2019 | 12:20 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

Health officials in Hanover are expressing fears that the parish could be facing an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease, even as work intensifies to stave off the ongoing dengue scare.

Speaking at the general meeting of the Hanover Municipal Corporation late last week, Dr Kaushal Sungh, the medical officer of health for Hanover, said there was now cause for alarm, as an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease usually occurred at this time of the year.

“It is our routine that we are monitoring these things because these are seasonal diseases, but I am urging the population to take their personal hygiene seriously,” Singh told The Gleaner following the meeting.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a mild contagious viral infection caused by the Coxsackievirus. It is usually common among children five years and younger. The disease, which is transmitted through direct contact, can last for several days or weeks.

In delivering the health department’s report at the meeting, Singh pointed out that the Hanover Health Department was notified of some 12 suspected cases of hand, foot and mouth disease within the past two months.

Quizzed by councillors as to whether the reported cases of the disease were concentrated in any particular area of the parish and what number of cases would constitute an outbreak, Singh said that although the first case was identified in the Chester Castle division, cases have also been identified in other communities.

Singh advised that parents minimise affected children’s contact with others and urged them to notify the health department or their doctors immediately.

According to Singh, the symptoms of the disease include poor appetite, fever, sore throat, rash in palms, rash on buttocks, and headache.

He said that personal hygiene, including regular handwashing by both parents and children, was very important as a preventative measure.