In 2015, Japan reported more than 380,000 hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases for the year, in fact the situation prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a travel notice in September.


However, the numbers in 2016 reveal, at least to date, a significant drop off in cases of the contagious viral disease.

Although the numbers of weekly cases have increased slightly, up to more than 1000, the total for the year through June 22 stands at 5,773. This compares to what was reported in 2015 for the same period when Japan saw 83,295 cases of HFMD.

Officials say that overall, HFMD activity is low, and following seasonal trends.

HFMD is typically a benign and self-limiting disease. Most common in young children, it presents as fever, oral lesions and rash on the hands, feet and buttocks. The oral lesions consist of rapidly-ulcerating vesicles on the buccal mucosa, tongue, palate and gums. The rash consists of papulovesicular lesions on the palms, fingers and soles, which generally persist for seven to 10 days, and maculopapular lesions on the buttocks.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by viruses that belong to the Enterovirus genus (group). This group of viruses includes polioviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, andenteroviruses.

Good hygiene and cleanliness are keys to avoiding HFMD– handwashing, not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth and disinfecting dirty surfaces and soiled items.