HCM CITY — HCM City health authorities have urged kindergartens to intensify efforts to prevent the spread of hand-foot-mouth disease at school.
Outbreaks in schools rose steadily in the first quarter, with 10 kindergartens reporting two cases or more, according to the Department of Health.
Sixteen schools reported a single case each during the period.
By the end of March a total of 1,836 cases were reported in the city, two of them fatal.
Half of school children who had the disease with mild symptoms were initially sent to school, increasing the risk of infection in schools, said Nguyen Dac Tho, deputy director of the city's Preventive Medicine Centre.
Many parents thought their children just had the flu, he told district education officials at a meeting held yesterday.
"The failure to separate sick children from others at school is a major cause of the increasing number of infections this year.
"Close supervision of sick children at school is necessary to prevent the risk of spread."
He called on kindergartens to keep a close eye on children and send them home immediately at the first sign of any symptom.
Preventive measures like frequent washing of hands with soap and disinfection should be undertaken to contain the disease, he added. — VNS