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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Contagious HMFD cases alarming

The province of Southern Leyte posts the second highest number of cases of the highly contagious hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) in Eastern Visayas, as reflected in the Department of Health (DOH) report for the period covering January 1 to February 25, 2023. During this period, the DOH recorded 116 HFMD cases, which is 500% higher than the 22 number of cases in the same period in 2022.
Topping the highest number of cases is the province of Leyte with 51, followed by Southern Leyte with 45, Northern Samar with 11, Biliran with 6, Eastern Samar with 2, and Samar province with 1. Of these cases, majority of the infected persons are male, who are infants up to the age of 17, according to the DOH.
“The HFMD is a highly contagious viral disease often affecting infants and children. Most HFMD cases are mild, self-limiting, and non-fatal but may progress to meningitis, encephalitis, and polio-like paralysis if left unmanaged,” the DOH 8 stated in its advisory.
The disease is transmitted through contact with nose and throat discharges, the saliva of infected persons, and contaminated objects.
The DOH reiterated that HFMD cannot be contracted from animals and should not be confused with foot-and-mouth disease in cattle, sheep, and swine.
A person infected with HFMD suffers fever; sore throat; feeling of being unwell; painful, red-blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums, and insides of the cheeks; red rash, without itching, but sometimes with blistering on the palms, soles, or the buttocks; irritability in infants and toddlers; and loss of appetite.
To prevent contracting HFMD, the DOH advises the public to perform mandatory washing of hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based sanitizers in all opportunities and occasions, especially in the hospital, household, and school settings.
“Parents or guardians are advised to ensure that children with suspected, probable, or confirmed HFMD cases should remain at home, refrain from attending school, day-care facilities, or other face-to-face activities until such time that the patient is not exhibiting symptoms anymore, and strictly adhere to the advice of a health care provider,” the DOH said further.

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