Minister of Health Urges School Administrators to Immediately Report Cases of Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease

Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson is urging school administrators to make an immediate report to the Medical Officers of Health in their Parish or to the Health Department if they suspect that there may be cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (HFMD) in their school.

Dr. Ferguson was speaking against the background of the present outbreak of the illness which has so far affected thirty five (35) schools.

“The respective Regional Health Authorities have so far reported cases in the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Thomas, St. Catherine, Portland and St. Ann. It is recommended that schools regularly clean and disinfect areas particularly those where young children frequent to reduce the spread of the disease,” Dr. Ferguson said.

Dr. Ferguson also appealed to parents to remove their children from school until they have fully recovered so as to prevent transmission to others.

The Ministry has prepared and made available guidelines on managing HFMD to schools through the Ministry of Education. Information is also available on our website which can be accessed at

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common childhood illness caused by a virus. The illness most often occurs between March and June and between September and December but can occur at any time. It is most frequently seen in young children, infants, and toddlers. It is characterized by fever and a blister-like rash affecting the palms of the hands and soles of the feet along with blisters inside the mouth. There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease. Supportive care, including fever management, and prevention of dehydration are the primary goals.