Nearly a dozen schools re­port hand, foot and mouth dis­ease

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

AT LEAST 11 early child­hood in­sti­tu­tions have re­ported hand, foot and mouth dis­ease to the Min­istry of Health.

The min­istry yes­ter­day ap­pealed to school ad­min­is­tra­tors to re­port any case of hand, foot and mouth dis­ease to their par­ish health de­part­ments.

Di­rec­tor of health pro­mo­tion and pro­tec­tion in the Min­istry of Health, Dr So­nia Copeland, told The Gleaner yes­ter­day that, up to Fri­day, four in­sti­tu­tions in Kingston re­ported that they have been af­fected by the dis­ease, sub­se­quently an­other six schools high­lighted cases of hand, foot and mouth.

In St Cather­ine, one early child­hood in­sti­tu­tion re­ported a case of the dis­ease.

“It doesn’t ap­pear to be wide­spread as of now, be­cause we have taken the pre-emp­tive de­ci­sion to re­cir­cu­late all the nec­es­sary ma­te­rial to the schools, teach­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors,” Copeland pointed out.

At the same time, the min­istry is ad­vis­ing school ad­min­is­tra­tors to seek help from the health de­part­ments in their re­spec­tive parishes if they be­lieve that they have a case of the dis­ease in their school.

Copeland stressed that chil­dren with symp­toms of the dis­ease should be sent home im­me­di­ately and re­main out of school for seven days.

Hand, foot and mouth dis­ease is a vi­ral in­fec­tion that mainly af­fects younger chil­dren.

DISINFECT REG­U­LARLY

Copeland ad­vised that hand, foot and mouth dis­ease should not be con­fused with foot and mouth dis­ease, which af­fects cat­tle.

Mean­while, Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer Dr Win­ston De La Haye ad­vised school ad­min­is­tra­tors to clean and disinfect ar­eas reg­u­larly, es­pe­cially places where young chil­dren fre­quent.

The min­istry said chil­dren can be­come in­fected with the virus from other chil­dren through close con­tact, such as hug­ging, or shar­ing cups and eat­ing uten­sils, con­tact with fae­ces, as well as other con­tam­i­nated ob­jects and sur­faces. There is no vac­cine to pre­vent the dis­ease. How­ever, sim­ple steps like reg­u­lar hand-wash­ing and prac­tis­ing good hy­giene can help re­duce the risk of in­fec­tion.

Per­sons who wish to ob­tain more in­for­ma­tion on hand, foot and mouth dis­ease may call the Min­istry of Health at 1-888-ONE-LOVE (1-888-6635683) or their par­ish health de­part­ment.

Dr So­nia Copeland

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