Officials try to contain hand, foot and mouth outbreak

| 26/02/2018 | 11 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): With more than 60 reported cases of hand, foot and mouth disease, the Public Health Department said it is “working robustly” with relevant partners to monitor, mitigate and contain the outbreak. Normally a summer virus impacting children, this highly infectious disease can also hit adults and there is no vaccine or cure. The symptoms are managed though over-the-counter treatments, and although it generally goes away without any long-term negative impact, it can cause young kids, in particular, to be unwell.

Once the public health team receive a report, the department works closely with schools to assist with containing the spread of the virus. The PHD has a school nurse coordinator who is actively educating each school on hand, foot and mouth disease. The department’s surveillance officer, Timothy McLaughlin-Munroe, is also closely monitoring and collecting data on local cases that have been reported.

Although reporting cases of this disease is not mandatory, in a release Monday alerting the community about the mounting cases, Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams encouraged all public and private physicians to report every case “so that we may improve the accuracy of our data and be better equipped to take the required actions to reduce the spread of the virus”.

Public health officials are also urging people to take precautions, particularly with hygiene.

“The infection most often occur in the summer and fall months so it is a bit unusual that we are seeing this outbreak in the winter time,” said Dr Earl Robinson, Head of Paediatrics at the Health Services Authority.

“The virus is very contagious, which is why it is very important that people take the necessary precautions and consistently use hygienic measures to reduce the risk of contracting and transmitting diseases,” he said.

HFMD is more common in infants and children under 10, with outbreaks of the disease happening particularly in childcare settings and preschools. Symptoms  include fever, reduced appetite, sore throat, a feeling of being ill (malaise) and blister-like eruptions in the mouth 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. Reinfection can also occur in people who have already had the virus.

Dr Williams pointed to proper hand washing techniques, sanitization, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and soiled items (including toys) and avoiding contact with children/adults who have HFMD as ways to mitigate its impact. For management of pain he advised taking over-the-counter medications (without aspirin) and using mouthwash to assist with numbing blisters in the mouth.

Parents whose children are infected are asked to keep them at home to reduce further spreading of the virus. Children may return to school after blisters have dried up and there are no new blisters, and when there is no fever for at least 24 hours.

The HSA’s Paediatric Unit in collaboration with the Public Health and Laboratory Services held an information session on Friday at the hospital, where they presented a comprehensive overview of HFMD to government and private healthcare workers.

A coordinated joint approach that involves refining existing plans and protocols for successful containment of the virus and established protocol in handling communicable/contagious diseases is now underway.

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

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (11)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    We let in all the dirty Europeans and they bring all their nasty germs with them.


  2. Anonymous says:

    It could be gods curse for all the stubborn, bullheadedness that emanates from this rock.


    • Diogenes says:

      I often contemplate these things, in all seriousness Christians fascinate me
      this is nothing nothing new, are we going to act like this is anything new
      For thousands of years:
      Neonatal Tetanus, Polio, Scarlet Fever, Measles, Rubella, Whooping Cough (all illnesses that primarily affect children) etc etc
      This is the his modus operandi
      or you can scapegoat the blame onto “sins or devils or demons” whatever helps you sleep at night knowing the God you worship has forsaken you

      I came out of the dark nothingness and I shall one day return
      The thought doesn’t scare me, Life is worth living and when it ends, oh well

      I am prepared for good old fashioned christian intolerance and insults, come at me
      The persecuted become the persecutors, maybe there is a God, maybe he a has a sense of humor, and maybe that’s why he lets the kiddies die

      Diogenes the Apostate of Cayman


    • Datisme says:

      Or sent by the British as punishment for all the disobedient subjects.


    • Anonymous says:

      Such an ignorant comment, especially given that it mostly infects innocent children..


    • Anonymous says:

      Why are you still here then??



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