The South East Regional Authority (SERHA) is closely monitoring cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease that have been found in at least three schools in Kingston and St. Andrew and six schools in St. Catherine.
The Health Departments in the respective parishes have been working closely with the schools to minimise the spread of the disease. The schools have also been given guidelines for the management of Hand, Foot and Disease and Public Health Inspectors have been deployed to the schools to assess the situation.
The Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is a viral illness common in infants and children. Fevers and blister-like eruptions on the tongue, inside the cheek and on the skin are symptoms of the disease. Poor appetite and a sore throat are other symptoms of the Disease.
It can be spread through direct contact with mucus in the throat and nose, saliva, fluid from blisters and the stool of infected persons.
There is no vaccine to protect against the viruses that cause Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.
Persons can lower their risk of being infected by:
- Washing hands often with soap and water, especially after changing diapers and using the toilet.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and soiled items, including toys.
- Avoiding close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with people with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.
If a person has mouth sores, it might be painful to swallow, however, it is important for people with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease to drink enough liquids to prevent dehydration (loss of body fluids).
Parents are urged to keep their children at home for at least seven days if they experience any of the symptoms. Schools are asked to contact the Parish Health Department if any child is found with symptoms of the disease.
The public will be given further updates on this matter.