Health Ministry: Hand, Foot & Mouth disease limited to small group of children

The Ministry of Health is advising citizens that a few suspected cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease have recently been reported in a small group of children at a specific location in Trinidad.

The ministry says there is no serious public health risk for Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) at this time.

The symptoms of HFMD are:

• fever

• painful sores in the mouth

• a rash with blisters on hands, feet and buttocks

A statement isued by the ministry says it is important to note that while HFMD is contagious, the symptoms usually resolve on their own within 1 to 2 weeks and are generally mild to moderate in intensity.

It adds that simple personal hygienic measures can reduce the risk of infection.

It is encouraging members of the public:

• Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after changing diapers and after using the toilet

• Clean dirty surfaces and soiled items, including toys, first with soap and water and then disinfect them with a solution of chlorine bleach (made by adding 1 tablespoon of bleach to 4 cups of water)

• Avoid close contact with persons with HFMD (e.g. kissing, hugging, sharing eating utensils/ cups, etc.)

• Keep sick infants and children away from kindergarten, school or gatherings until they are well

• Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing • Dispose properly of used tissues and nappies into waste bins that close securely

• Ensure the cleanliness of homes, child care centres, kindergartens and/or schools.

The Ministry of Health says it has taken pre-emptive measures in this regard, including advising members of the medical fraternity (both in the public and private sectors) to be on the lookout for patients presenting with symptoms of the disease.

It says that if you or your family members present with the symptoms of HFMD, please stay away from home or school, as applicable, and visit your doctor or nearest health centre.

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