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The Negros Occidental Provincial Health Office in Bacolod City reports an increase in hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases early in 2023.

Image/Department of Health Western Visayas Center for Health Development

According to official data, 320 cases have already been recorded from January 1 to February 4, 2023.  This compares with only five cases reported in the first five weeks last year, a 6300 percent increase.

Most of the cases are children below 10 years old.

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said, “That’s really very alarming” and will support the declaration of an outbreak in the province.

Among the cities, Kabankalan recorded the highest number of cases with 73, from zero cases last year, while Cauayan has the most cases among the municipalities with 41.

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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, and enteroviruses.

  • Coxsackievirus A16 is the most common cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease in the United States, but other coxsackieviruses have been associated with the illness.
  • Enterovirus 71 has also been associated with hand, foot, and mouth disease and outbreaks of this disease.

EV-71 has been implicated in HFMD outbreaks in Southeast Asia over the several years. EV 71 is a non-polio enterovirus.

Complications associated with HFMD caused by the more pathogenic EV-71 strain include encephalitis, aseptic meningitis, acute flaccid paralysis, pulmonary edema or hemorrhage and myocarditis. Most deaths in HFMD occur as a result of pulmonary edema or hemorrhage.


Giant Microbes