Hong Kong enters peak season for hand, foot and mouth disease [fr]
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health called on May, 14th on the public to maintain vigilance against hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) and enterovirus 71 (EV71) infections, as the latest surveillance data shows that Hong Kong is entering the peak season for both.
HFMD is a common disease in children caused by enteroviruses. The EV71 infection is of particular concern as it more likely associates with severe outcomes. The disease mainly spreads by contact with nose or throat discharges, saliva, fluid from vesicles or patients’ stool, or after touching contaminated objects. The period of incubation is about 3 to 7 days.
In the recent two weeks, the CHP has recorded an increasing number of institutional outbreaks of HFMD and EV71 infection. It has been recorded, in Hong Kong, 16 cases of HFMD institutional outbreaks the week 20 (May 10 to May 14), against 9 the previous week. As for EV71 infection, the CHP recorded 17 cases as of May 13 2015, among which one patient developed a severe complication. Fourteen of the cases were recorded in recent four weeks.
The CHP has provided advice to child care centres, kindergartens and primary and secondary schools relative to this alarming situation.
To prevent HFMD and EV71 infection, members of the public are urged to stay vigilant and strictly observe personal and environmental hygiene. They are advised to observe the following:
* Maintain good air circulation;
* Wash hands before meals and after going to the toilet;
* Keep hands clean and wash hands properly;
* Cover the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing;
* Clean children’s toys and other objects thoroughly and frequently with diluted household bleach;
* Children who are ill should be kept out of school until their fever has 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.