Chandigarh: Hand Foot and Mouth Disease cases up, Doctors advised not to panic
Mohali: Chandigarh has been recently reporting growing cases of the highly contagious hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD), with nearly 24 cases being confirmed in a week. HFMD is a highly contagious infection that is caused by viruses from the enterovirus genus, most commonly coxsackievirus. As per the data by the respective health departments last week, nearly 15 confirmed...
Mohali: Chandigarh has been recently reporting growing cases of the highly contagious hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD), with nearly 24 cases being confirmed in a week.
HFMD is a highly contagious infection that is caused by viruses from the enterovirus genus, most commonly coxsackievirus. As per the data by the respective health departments last week, nearly 15 confirmed infections of HFMD have been reported in Panchkula within a week, followed by eight in Mohali and one in Chandigarh.
The infection has been affecting children younger than five years, because of which various schools have decided to switch to online classes for a brief period to control the spread of the infection.
Panchkula chief medical officer Dr Mukta Kumar, said, "A couple of HFMD cases surface every year, but this year, their number is much higher. Now, one to two new infections is being reported in the civil hospital's pediatric OPD daily."
Stating that around eight students from various schools in the city had been infected in the past one week, Mohali epidemiologist Dr Harmandeep Kaur said, "The infection is mild and four children have already recovered from it." Dr Suman Singh, Director, of health services, Chandigarh said, "In Chandigarh, only one school student has tested positive for the infection so far. Samples of some suspected patients have been sent for testing to PGIMER."
The PGIMER had confirmed last week that it had tested nine children from Chandigarh and Mohali for HFMD in the last 15 days, and all had come out to be positive, reports the Hindustan Times.
Various schools have reported confirmed cases and have decided to shift to online mode. For instance, the Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, Sector 26, has decided to hold online classes for all classes on Friday whereas Tender Heart High School, Sector 33, announced that it will hold online classes for Playgroup, Nursery, LKG, UKG, Class 1 and Class 2 on Friday. Bhavan Vidyalaya, Panchkula, also decided to start online classes for Classes LKG to Class 2 from Friday. A health audit of the school was conducted in which many children were found to be sick, said the school principal, adding, "Though no confirmed HFMD case has been detected, we don't want to take any risk."
Various schools including St Kabir Public School Sector 26, Delhi Public School Sector 40 and St John's High School, Sector 26 took directions to hold classes in online mode. A nodal person has been appointed at PGIMER by the Chandigarh education department to coordinate the collection of samples from schools. As per an advisory by the department, the sample is required to be collected by the school health team and transported to PGIMER through the nodal person.
The UT Education Department has appointed Dr Gursimran, from the PGI, as a nodal person for coordinating sampling from schools, reports the Tribune India. The samples taken by the school health teams would be sent to PGI through Dr Gursimran.
Meanwhile, doctors have advised not to panic, stating that the need of the hour is to be proactive. Dr Vikas Sharma, Chief Consultant Dermatologist and Dermatolaser Surgeon, National Skin Hospital, Mansa Devi Complex stated that nearly 20 to 25 cases of HFMD have been reported in his OPD. Dr Sharma told Indian Express, "The fact is viral infections tend to peak during monsoon every year, which brings a rise in cases of other viral disorders like HFMD, chicken pox, measles, etc. So there's no need to panic but the need of the hour is being proactive. Diseases like chickenpox, measles and HFMD have symptoms of rashes on the skin along with blisters."
He said, "The main issue is when the child develops oral blisters. They are painful and it prevents them from swallowing food." He observed that the symptoms that one needs to look out for in children are the inability to have food or water, reduced urination, inactivity and persistent fever. He added that it is a common infectious disease in young children, especially those under 5 years of age.
Dr Sharma added, "While there are no vaccines, it is a self-limiting disease and requires symptomatic treatment only. The infection lasts for around 7-14 days. It has a fast-spreading rate in humid climates. Children can be infected by the virus that spreads directly from person to person through the mouth, secretions from the nose, mouth, or saliva. Therefore, the most powerful way to prevent this is understanding how to protect your children, recognise early signs and take proper care." Further, he observed, "HFMD is an infectious viral illness which mainly infects children aged 0–5? years old.
Coxsackievirus A16 and EV71 are the most common pathogenic enterovirus causing HFMD. One can be infected through several pathways like contact with the infected person's spittle or blister fluid directly, faecal-oral route, respiratory pathway, or contact with contaminated objects. The incubation period of HFMD is about 3–7 days. Pain, fever, bad appetite, small blisters and ulcers on hands, feet, mouth and other parts are the main symptoms."
Similarly, Dr Priyansh from the department of Dermatology in PGIMER stressed that "people should not panic and just see a dermatologist."
HFMD is more likely to affect young children less than five years old, but it could also affect older children and adults. The disease is generally mild and gets over by a week, with the treatment being mostly directed towards symptoms. Some of the symptoms include fever, poor appetite, and sore throat, and in a day or two, painful sores develop on the mouth, hands, and soles of the feet. Rashes might occur on the knees, elbows, buttocks, or genital area.
The samples from the throat or stool are tested to confirm the infection. Close contact and sharing the belongings of the patient should be avoided to prevent the spread of the disease.
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