St.maarten – There has been a noticeable increase in cases of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) says in a press release and urges parents and guardians, day care centers and play schools to be on alert for an increase in clusters of the disease amongst the school population. CPS advises to take extra measures to prevent outbreaks by washing of hands often with soap and water.
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children who are 10-years of age or younger. It can sometimes occur in adults. There is no vaccine to protect against the viruses that cause it.
People with symptoms should consult their family physician and take n measures to mitigate an increase in the number of cases.
Symptoms include cold-like conditions, fever, mouth sores, loss of appetite, cough, and a skin rash; a non-itchy red rash that develops on the hand and the feet, and sometimes the rash can develop into painful blisters; painful mouth ulcers.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is spread from person to person through nose and throat secretions (such as saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus), blister fluid, or stool of infected persons.
To lower the risk of an infection, CPS advises to wash hands often with soap and water, especially after changing diapers and using the toilet; disinfecting dirty surfaces and soiled items, including toys. First wash the items with soap and water, and then disinfect them with a solution of bleach; avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, thumb-sucking, nail-chewing or sharing eating utensils or cups with infected persons.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is not the same as foot and mouth disease, which affects cattle, sheep and pigs. The two infections are unrelated, and you cannot catch hand, foot and mouth disease from animals.
For information can call CPS at 542 20 78 or 542 30 03 or send an email to surveillance