HFMD cases continue to rise

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
HFMD cases continue to rise
A Thai teacher walks past a poster displayed as part of an anti hand, foot and mouth disease (HMFD) campaign at the Education Ministry in Bangkok on July 20, 2012. The Thai government ordered the closure of at least 30 schools in Bangkok after two dozen students contracted the illness.

MANILA, Philippines — An outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease  (HFMD) may be declared any time as cases of the highly infectious illness continue to surge in various regions.

Speaking at the Laging Handa public briefing yesterday, infectious disease specialist Dr. Rontgene Solante reported that HFMD is now widespread, noting that hundreds of cases were recorded last month in Albay province and the Ilocos region.

Solante said that the outbreak was first recorded in October in San Pascual town in Batangas where over 100 children were infected.

In the National Capital Region, he said 155 cases were recorded from October to this month.

“This means HFMD is now widespread that we might have to declare an outbreak soon, especially if it is already affecting many regions,” Solante said partly in Filipino.

An outbreak, he added, may be declared if the number of cases continues to rise not only in NCR but in nearby regions. Other factors that may be considered in making a declaration are when cases jump by 100 percent from last year and when hospitals are filled with patients.

According to Solante, there is no over-the-counter drug available to treat symptoms of HFMD, except for paracetamol for those suffering from fever.

He stressed the need for those infected to seek consultation to avoid complications of the illness.

“There is no vaccine for HFMD, so the preventive method, like washing hands, is very important,” he said in Filipino.

Last Tuesday, Department of Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said there is no outbreak of HFMD yet in NCR, although she noted that the cases have been increasing for the past months.

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