NewsDesk @bactiman63

The municipal health office (MHO) in Banga town in South Cotabato province reports an increase in hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases among children.

As of Feb. 3, the number of HFMD cases in Banga, that so far affected 19 out of the 22 barangays, stood at 293, most of which were recorded among school children.

“We can consider this now as an outbreak; the youngest HFMD patient is 6 months old and the oldest is 76 years old,” MHO chief, Ellen Quidilla said.

Quidilla said local health field workers have been deployed to communities and schools to conduct HFMD orientation and prevent the further spread of the disease.

“We taught them (barangay and school officials) how to detect suspected HFMD cases so that they can isolate children with symptoms like lesions and rushes mostly on the mouth and feet,” Quidilla said Tuesday in an interview.

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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.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 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.