Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

My sister daughters, Amrina and Alia were diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) just after we had our trip at Malacca last week. Luckily Arif, Amirah (Hanim kids) and my kids didn’t have it. My sister was very worried and suspected the kids got it from the school friends. This was the 3rd time I heard (not hearsay) this outbreak. The first time was my classmate claimed that her child got the disease last month and this time my sister daughters. If I’m not mistaken, there was news relating to HFMD outbreak at the TTDI and the school was closed for one day.

Some info about HFMD:
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a human syndrome caused by intestinal viruses of the Picornaviridae family. The most common strains causing HFMD are Coxsackie A virus and Enterovirus 71 (EV71).
HFMD usually affects infants and children, and is quite common. It is moderately contagious and is spread through direct contact with the mucus, saliva, or feces of an infected person. It typically occurs in small epidemics in nursery schools or kindergartens, usually during the summer and autumn months. The usual incubation period is 3-7 days.

Symptoms of HFMD include:
• Fever
• Headache
• Vomiting
• Fatigue
• Malaise
• Sore throat
• Painful oral lesions
• Non-itchy body rash, followed by sores with blisters on palms of hands and soles of feet
• Oral ulcer
• Sores or blisters may be present on the buttocks of small children and infants
• Irritability in infants and toddlers
• Loss of appetite.
• Diarrhea
The common incubation period (the time between infection and onset of symptoms) is from three to seven days.

Early symptoms are likely to be fever followed by a sore throat. Loss of appetite and general malaise may also occur. Between one and two days after the onset of fever, painful sores (lesions) may appear in the mouth and/or throat. A rash may become evident on the hands, feet, and occasionally the buttocks (but generally, the rash on the buttocks will be caused from the diarrhea.) Not all symptoms will be present in all cases.

There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease. Individual symptoms, such as fever, lameness, and pain from the sores, may be eased with the use of medication. HFMD is a viral disease that has to run its course; many doctors do not issue medicine for this illness, unless the infection is severe. Infection in older children, adolescents, and adults is normally very mild and lasts around 1 week or sometimes more. Fever reducers will help to control high temperatures. Luke-warm baths will also help bring temperature down.

Only a very small minority of sufferers require hospital admission, mainly as a result of neurological complications (encephalitis, meningitis, or acute flaccid paralysis) or pulmonary edema/pulmonary hemorrhage.

Outbreak news 2008
An outbreak in China, beginning in March in Fuyang, Anhui, lead to 25,000 infections, and 42 deaths, by May 13th. Similar outbreaks were reported in Singapore (more than 2,600 cases as of April 20th, 2008), Vietnam (2,300 cases, 11 deaths), and Mongolia (1,600 cases).

Source: Wikipedia

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