A doctor at Paediatrics Hospital 2 in HCM City examines a child infected with Hand-Foot-Mouth disease. — VNA/VNS Photo Phuong Vy
HCM CITY — The Ministry of Health has ordered preventive medicine units and facilities across the nation to strengthen hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) prevention in response to the increase in the number of cases in major cities across the nation.
The ministry’s Department of Preventive Medicine has told provincial health departments to implement measures, especially those areas at high risk of an outbreak.
The department has also told local Centres for Disease Control (CDCs) to provide professional training and guidance on the supervision and treatment of the disease.
The health sector should work closely with schools to carry out preventive measures and to ensure hygiene practices at schools, especially at kindergartens.
Schools must adopt effective preventive measures, including frequent hand washing with soap and water, and cleaning of contaminated surfaces and soiled items like toys with soap and water, and a diluted solution of chlorine-containing bleach to disinfect them.
Health departments in provinces and cities should try to detect cases early in schools and immediately notify local authorities for early check-ups and treatment.
It is important that mobile emergency teams be ready to investigate, verify and handle the outbreak and support lower levels in controlling the outbreak, and offer emergency care and treatment. It is also necessary to prevent cross-contamination in hospitals and treatment facilities.
According to reports from local CDCs, since the beginning of the year, the country has recorded 10,745 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease in 63 provinces and cities, of which 6,662 cases were hospitalised. There were no deaths.
Compared to the same period last year, the number of cases nationwide decreased by more than 55 per cent, while the number of hospitalised cases decreased by more than 51 per cent.
However, the number of cases has surged in recent weeks in cities and provinces across the country such as HCM City, Hà Nội, Đồng Nai, Bình Dương, Đà Nẵng, Quảng Ngãi, Vĩnh Phúc, Hải Phòng and Bắc Ninh.
Hand-foot-mouth disease, a mild, contagious viral infection common in young children, is characterised by sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet. The disease is most commonly caused by a coxsackievirus, health experts said.
There is currently no vaccine for the disease or specific treatment. Frequent hand-washing and avoiding close contact with infected people may help reduce the risk of infection.
The disease may cause fever, sore throat, feeling of being unwell, loss of appetite, or painful, red, blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums and inside of the cheeks.
The incubation period is three to six days. A fever is often the first sign of hand-foot-and-mouth disease, followed by a sore throat and sometimes a poor appetite and malaise.
One or two days after the fever begins, painful sores may develop in the front of the mouth or throat. A rash on the hands and feet and possibly on the buttocks can follow within one or two days.
Sores that develop in the back of the mouth and throat may suggest that the child is infected with a related viral illness called herpangina. Other distinguishing features of herpangina include a sudden high fever, and in some instances, seizure. Sores that develop on the hands, feet or other parts of the body are rare, according to experts.
Parents should contact a doctor if their children’s signs and symptoms worsen. — VNS