After recording more than 76,000 hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) cases in 2014, the Vietnam Ministry of Health’s Centre for Preventive Health reported Monday that the cumulative case count thus far in 2015 is down 30 percent with the tally at 44,000.
The highest number of cases have been reported from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Five deaths have been recorded, all from the southern areas of the country.
Elsewhere in Asia, HFMD cases in China are at 1,607,825 cases and 107 fatalities, as of Sep. 30, while in Japan, as of 28 October, there were 372,561 cases of HFMD reported in 2015.
HFMD is typically a benign and self-limiting disease. Most common in young children, it presents as fever, oral lesionsand 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.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no vaccine to protect against the viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease.
A person 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). If a person cannot swallow enough liquids, they may need to receive them through an IV in their vein.
There is no specific treatment for hand, foot, and mouth disease. However, some things can be done to relieve symptoms, such as
- Taking over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and fever (Caution: Aspirin should not be given to children.)
- Using mouthwashes or sprays that numb mouth pain
People who are concerned about their symptoms should contact their health care provider.
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