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(CMC) – Grenada is experiencing a significant increase in the number of children affected by the hand, foot and mouth disease when compared to 2016, epidemiologist Dr. Shawn Charles has said.
“From our records, this infection is seasonal with diagnosing mainly occurring during the mouths of February/March and October/November and this coincides with the spring and fall period in the US,” he said while explaining that historically this viral infection is a seasonal problem.
“I will not describe it as an outbreak but a significant seasonal increase,” said Dr. Charles when asked to confirm that Grenada is recording an outbreak of the viral infection mainly among children under the age of five.
According to the figures released here, in 2016 Grenada had 86 cases, in 2017 there were 12 cases and to date, there are 80 recorded cases.
Dr. Charles said that the infection which is spread by secretion fluids is most contagious during the first week.
“Contact with the saliva, stool, nasal fluids of infected persons are some of the ways the infection can spread, so the key message to control it is proper hygiene, especially for persons who are caregivers of children,” he said while explaining that there is no treatment for the infectious.
“What happens is, medically we treat the symptoms because there is no vaccine and specific no treatment for it and this why we are stressing for proper hygiene to be observed to control the spread,” he said.
The symptoms of the hand-foot-and-mouth disease, also called HFMD, include ulcers, or sores, inside or around the mouth, and a rash or blisters on the hands, feet, legs, or buttocks.
“A child infected should not attend school or day-care facilities but remain at home until the legions are dried,” Dr. Charles added.