Hand, foot and mouth cases in Cayman schools

| 02/03/2016 | 3 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): Following the outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease at two local primary schools last year, public health officials are closely monitoring the schools as further cases have been identified. Children at West End Primary on Cayman Brac and Savannah Primary on Grand Cayman have come down with the viral illness and teams continue to work closely with schools to help contain the virus with active weekly surveillance.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the disease but Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr Samuel Williams, said there was no cause for alarm.

“Isolated cases of hand, foot and mouth disease are expected, hence there is no need for alarm. We recommend consistent use of hygienic measure to reduce the risk of contracting and transmitting the disease,” he said.

The public doctor advises that, as a general rule, thorough hand washing, sanitizing, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and soiled items, including toys, avoiding contact with children or adults who have HFMD, taking over-the-counter medications for pain without aspirin and using mouthwash to assist with numbing blisters.

Parents whose children are infected are asked to keep them at home to reduce further spreading of the virus.

The illness is common in infants and children under five years of age, but can also occur in adults. Symptoms of HFMD include fever, reduced appetite, sore throat, and a feeling of being ill (malaise), as well as blister-like eruptions on the tongue, inside the cheek and on the skin. However, not every patient may exhibit all these symptoms. Some people, especially adults, may show no symptoms at all, but they can still pass the virus onto others.

For further information contact the Public Health Department on 244-2621.


Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a viral infection that causes a blister-like rash involving the hands, feet and mouth. The infection occurs most commonly in children less than 10 years of age and most often in the summer and fall months. Outbreaks may occur in childcare settings and preschools.

SYMPTOMS: Low-grade fever that may last one to two days, runny nose and/or sore throat. Blister-like rash occurs in the mouth, on the sides of the tongue, inside the cheeks, and on the gums. These sores may last seven to 10 days. Blister-like rash may occur on the palms and fingers of the hands and on the soles of the feet. The infection usually goes away without any serious problems. Rarely, it may be a cause of viral meningitis (brain infection).

SPREAD: The viruses leave the body through the stool of an infected person and enter another person when hands, food, or objects (such as toys) contaminated with stool are placed in the mouth. It also is spread through droplets that are expelled from the nose and mouth of an infected

person during sneezing and coughing.

INCUBATION: It usually takes three to seven days after exposure for symptoms to begin.

CONTAGIOUS PERIOD: During the first week of illness and possibly for several weeks after illness. The virus may be shed for several weeks in stool. Infected persons who may not seem sick are able to spread the virus.

EXCLUSION: Until fever is gone and child is well enough to participate in routine activities (sores or rash may still be present).

TREATMENT: No specific treatment. Call your healthcare provider.


Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm running water after using the bathroom, after changing diapers, after handling anything soiled with stool, and after contact with secretions from the nose or mouth. Thorough hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Parents/guardians and childcare staff should closely monitor hand washing of all children after children have used the bathroom or have been diapered.

Clean and disinfect diapering area and potty chairs after each use, bathroom toilets, sinks, and toys at least daily and when soiled.

Cover nose and mouth with tissue when coughing and sneezing, or cough/sneeze into sleeve.

Dispose of used tissues.

Source: Public Health Department.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why is it always at government schools that the children catch these awful illnessess? Oh yea thats right.. because the CIG is full of fart.

    • Anonymous says:

      not only public schools there is a private school on walkers road that has an outbreak as well.

  2. Anonymous says:

    West end does not have it. That was last year. Check the information again.

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