Hand, foot, mouth cases with severe complications on the rise

Update: April, 07/2021 - 08:16


A patient infected with hand, foot, mouth disease is treated at HCM City's Hospital for Tropical Diseases. VNA/ VNS Photo Đinh Hằn

 HCM CITY — Hospitals in many localities have recorded a surge in hand, foot and mouth disease cases among children in the past month, with the number of patients in serious conditions increasing and at least one death linked to the disease.

HCM City has recorded a significant increase in the number of infected children.

Nguyễn Thị Kiều Dư, a mother of a three-year-old boy in District 4, said she noticed a rash with blisters on her child's palms and mouth when she picked him up after school.

Dư thought he might have suffered an allergic reaction, but the child soon had a high fever, lost his appetite and more red, blister-like lesions appeared on his hands. She took the boy to the HCM City’s Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

“The doctors said my child had hand, foot, mouth disease and required him to be immediately hospitalised for treatment. He is now under special treatment,” she said.

Dr Dư Tuấn Quy, deputy head of the department, said about 25 infected children were being treated at the hospital daily, a figure four times higher than the previous month.

Most of the serious cases are positive for Enterovirus 71 (EV71), a type of virus causing easily transmitted infection and severe complications.

“The rise in the number of infected children should cause alarm, especially as students have gone back to school after the (COVID-19) pandemic,” he said.

The Children’s Hospital No2 has reported treating 40 infected children every day, and a third of them are in a serious condition.

As many as 14 cases are reported in the City Children's Hospital at present. Notably, three children are in intensive care and on ventilators.

The city’s Centre for Disease Control estimates that as of March 15, more than 2,560 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease have been recorded, up 2.5 times from the same period in 2020.

Between March 8-11, there were 346 cases recorded among patients from all districts in the city.

The same situation has been occurring in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk and central Khánh Hoà Province.

Đắk Lắk Province’s Centre of Disease Control reported 250 infections in the first three months of this year, mainly in Buôn Ma Thuột City, Buôn Hồ Town and Buôn Đôn District.

In Bình Định Province, a 19-month old baby died in mid-March with suspected hand, foot and mouth disease, two days after being taken to hospital.

In Khánh Hoà Province, 244 cases have been recorded in the same period in Nha Trang City, Khánh Sơn and Diên Khánh districts.

Dr Nguyễn Đông, director of Khánh Hoà Province’s Hospital for Tropical Diseases, said most of the patients were under five years old.

Many parents decided to treat their children at home instead of taking them to the hospital as they were concerned about the spread of COVID-19, which meant the children didn’t receive timely treatment, harming their health, he said.

The centres of disease control of the three localities have warned local health centres to work with the educational sector to prevent the outbreak of the disease at pre-schools.

Pre-schools are required to sterilise classrooms and toys regularly and report to local authorities when new hand, foot and mouth cases are found. Parents should be encouraged to take their children to the hospital if the children show symptoms of the disease.

Hand, foot, mouth disease is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by the Coxsackie virus (A16) and Enterovirus 71 (EV71). The viral illness commonly afflicts children aged under five and has no vaccine or specific treatment. — VNS