Negros Occidental, which has the highest number of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases in Western Visayas, is stepping up its information campaign to prevent its further spread, Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, Provincial Health Officer, said Friday.
HFMD has also hit other provinces in the country, he said.
There were 320 HFMD cases reported in Negros Occidental from January 1 to February 4, or an increase by 6,300 percent compared to the five cases in the same period last year.
The HFMD cases will further increase if left unabated, he said.
Tumimbang stressed the need to isolate patients with HFMD in their homes following standard precautions with droplet and contact infection control procedures.
HFMD is mainly transmitted through person-to-person contact, including contact with infected nose and throat secretions or respiratory droplets, infected fluid from blisters or scabs, and infected fecal material, he said.
Tumimbang said parents or guardians should ensure that their children with suspected, probable, or confirmed HFMD should remain at home, avoid attending school, day-care facilities, or other face-to-face activities until they are well.
Patients with uncomplicated HFMD may be managed in an out-patient setting, while more severe cases should be given emergent management and referred for admission and inpatient care in a higher level facility with specialists, he said.
Uncomplicated HFMD patients should be provided supportive treatment by preventing dehydration and providing over-the-counter medications such as Paracetamol for fever and painful sores, Tumimbang said.
The patient should seek medical consultation immediately if symptoms persist beyond 10 days, if the condition becomes severe or is accompanied by nervous system and cardiorespiratory signs and symptoms, he added.
Tumimbang also stressed the need to observe Minimum Public Health Standards such as mask-wearing, respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette, physical distancing, and hand washing.*