CHINA : Hong Kong – The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (November 26) investigating an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) at a secondary school in Southern District, and hence appealed to the public to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene.
The 20 affected students, 17 boys and three girls aged 12 to 17, have developed fever, oral ulcers, rash and vesicles on their hands or feet since November 20. All of them sought medical attention and none required hospitalisation. All are now in stable condition.
Officers of the CHP have conducted a site visit and advised the staff of the school on necessary infection control and preventive measures.
The school has been put under medical surveillance. Investigations are ongoing.
“HFMD is common in children and is usually caused by enterovirus such as Coxsackie virus and EV71. It is clinically characterised by maculopapular rash or vesicular lesions occurring on the palms, soles and other parts of the body such as the buttocks and thighs.
Vesicular lesions and ulcers may also be found in the oral cavity. Sometimes patients present mainly with painful ulcers at the back of the mouth, namely herpangina, without rash on the hands or feet,” a spokesman for the CHP said.
To prevent HFMD, members of the public, and especially the management of institutions, should take heed of the following preventive measures:
* Maintain good air circulation;
* Wash hands before meals and after going to the toilet or handling diapers or other stool-soiled materials;
* Keep hands clean and wash hands properly, especially when they are dirtied by respiratory secretions, such as after sneezing;
* Cover the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and dispose of nasal and oral discharges properly;
* Clean children’s toys and other objects thoroughly and frequently with diluted household bleach (by adding one part of household bleach containing 5.25 per cent sodium hypochlorite to 49 parts of water), followed by rinsing or wiping with clean water;
* Children who are ill should be kept out of school until their fever and rash have subsided and all the vesicles have dried and crusted;
* Avoid going to overcrowded places; and
* Parents should maintain close communication with schools to let them know the latest situation of the sick children.