A total 119 cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease has been reported across the country since January this year, the Health Protection Agency has said today.
According to the HPA, cases have been reported in the Malé area as well as Gaafu Dhaalu, Gaafu Alif, Baa, Haa Alif, and Haa Dhaalu atolls
An official from the HPA said that the disease has been seen more frequently in the Malé area lately in comparison with January, at which time it was concentrated more in the atolls.
The official also said exact figures on cases reported in Malé were unavailable due to some difficulties in acquiring the information from Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH).
In a statement alerting the public to the situation, which requested greater caution, the agency said children between 1 – 5 years are most vulnerable to this disease, warning that is is likely to spread among students in preschool and primary grades 1- 2.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease – while not always serious – is contagious. According to the HPA, it can easily spread through close contact by means of saliva, nasal mucus, feces, and blister fluid.
Early signs of the disease include fever, reduced appetite, feeling tired, body aches, and sores in the mouth.
The HPA has requested all members of the public to take the following precautionary matters to control the disease:
- Do not send children infected children to school
- Keep infected children separate from others and do not taking them to public gatherings
- Thoroughly clean objects such as plates, towels, and toys used by children with the disease before allowing other children to use them
- Pay extra attention to hygiene of children and their surroundings, particularly toilets
- Wash hands with soap before eating and after changing diapers, cleaning or going to toilet
- If the disease is discovered at a school, suspend all activities involving the use of sand