The Ministry of Health is reporting a decline in the number of cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease being seen in public health care settings over the last few weeks.??

This is according to Senior Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Karen Springer; who confirmed the decline in the number of reported cases for the six-week period, January 29, to March 3, 2012. This is in contrast to the latter months of 2011, when the number of cases was noted to be increasing.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is a viral illness that is usually mild and self-limiting.?? The causative virus is quite different from that of Foot and Mouth Disease, which is a disease of animals.

Symptoms may include fever, malaise, sore mouth and development of a rash. Mouth lesions may appear on the inside surfaces of the cheeks, and gums and on the sides of the tongue. Raised pink spots that develop into blisters or a rash can occur especially on the palms, fingers, soles and occasionally on the buttocks.

The disease occurs more frequently in children who are under 10 years of age, but adult cases do arise as well.?? The virus is spread by direct contact with nasal and throat secretions or faeces of the infected person, or by inhalation of airborne secretions from coughing and sneezing.??

While reiterating that only a few cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease have come to the attention of the Health Ministry in recent weeks, Dr. Springer is, however, reminding members of the public that frequent and thorough hand washing and good respiratory hygiene practices can help to keep the spread of the disease to a minimal level.????


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