29 Jun 2017

From Medical Office: Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease (HFMD)

Dear Parents,

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health has recorded an increase in the number of institutional outbreaks of HFMD in the past few weeks. The usual peak season is from May to July. Please read the following recommendations made by the Centre For Health Protection and speak to your child about maintaining good personal hygiene:

Clinical features: The main symptoms of HFMD are fever, sore throat, ulcers inside the mouth and non-itchy skin rash over the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The illness is mostly self-limiting and resolves in 1 week and is mild in most cases. However, some cases may be caused by the EV71 virus and may be associated with higher risk of complications.

Mode of transmission: The mode of transmission is by contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, fluids from vesicles or patient’s stool, or after touching contaminated objects. It is most contagious during the first week of illness. Incubation is 3-7 days. Infection will result in immunity against the specific virus that has caused HFMD.

Management: No specific drug treatment is available for HFMD. Patients should drink plenty of water and take adequate rest, and may receive symptomatic treatment for fever or pain from oral ulcers.

Prevention: There is no effective vaccine. Good hygiene practices are the mainstay of prevention.
Students with HFMD should remain at home until fever has subsided and all the vesicles have dried up and crusted, or as advised by their doctor. (Those infected with EV71 virus is associated with a higher risk of complications.)

Wash hands thoroughly with liquid soap, before meals and after using the bathroom.
Cover nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing, with proper disposal of dirty tissues.
Disinfect surfaces which are contaminated by secretions with diluted household bleach.

Please seek medical attention if your child is unwell with symptoms of HFMD or EV71 infection.

Yours sincerely,

Joyce Yetman
School Health Professional