Significant increase in Hand, Foot and Mouth infections

Hand, Foot and Mouth disease

by Linda Straker

  • Hand, Foot and Mouth disease also called HFMD, is caused by a virus
  • In 2016 Grenada had 86 cases, in 2017 there were 12 cases
  • For 2018 so far, there are 80 recorded cases

Dr Shawn Charles, Epidemiologist in the Ministry of Health has confirmed that Grenada is experiencing an increase in the number of children affected by Hand, Foot and Mouth disease when compared to the 2016 data.

“From our records, this infection is seasonal with diagnosing mainly occurring during the months of February/March and October/November and this coincides with the spring and fall period in the US,” he said. He explained that historically this viral infection is a seasonal problem.

“I will not describe it as an outbreak but a significant seasonal increase,” said Charles when asked to confirm that Grenada is recording an outbreak of the viral infection whose sufferers are mainly children under the age of 5.

According to the records, in 2016 Grenada had 86 cases, in 2017 there were 12 cases, and for 2018 so far there are 80 recorded cases. Charles said that the infection which is spread by secretion fluids is most contagious during the first week.

“Contact with the saliva, stool, nasal fluids of infected persons are some of the ways the infection can spread, so the key message to control it is proper hygiene, especially for persons who are caregivers of children,” he said, explaining that there is no treatment for the infectious.

“What happens is, medically we treat the symptoms because there is no vaccine and no specific treatment for it and this why we are stressing for proper hygiene to be observed to control the spread,” he said.

Hand, Foot and Mouth disease also called HFMD, is caused by a virus. Symptoms include ulcers, or sores, inside or around the mouth, and a rash or blisters on the hands, feet, legs, or buttocks.

“A child infected should not attend school or daycare facilities but remain at home until the legions are dried.” Charles advised that places where children under 5 assemble, should be properly cleaned because the virus is spread easily among children.

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