ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 11 , 2007
Vol. 41 - No 41

Hand, Foot and Mouth disease spreading fast

By Ayesha R. Rafiq

An outbreak of a viral infection affecting young children, commonly known as Hand, Foot and Mouth disease is spreading fast in Colombo. Doctors warn that the numbers of cases in other areas of the country too has seen a sharp increase,.

The disease typically affects children under the age of 5, but older children and adults could occasionally be susceptible. Consultant Dermatologist of the Lady Ridgeway Hospital Dr. J.K. Seneviratne confirming the outbreak of the disease, said that symptoms of infection include slight fever, loss of appetite, sore throat, and a rash of red spots which develop into small vesicles or fluid containing blisters in the mouth, diaper area and hands and feet including the palms and soles.

The blisters are like those caused by chicken pox but do not itch. They however cause pain if pressed. There is no specific treatment other than pain relief. Recovery takes between one week to ten days.Dr. Seneviratne added that in extremely rare cases convulsions and paralysis had occurred. He said these complications last occurred in a1999 epidemic, which occurred in Hong Kong. He stressed complications were extremely rare and said there was no need to panic. He said once the disease was contracted, patients became immune to it.

Dr. P.H. Chandrawansa, Consultant Dermatologist of the Matara General Hospital, confirmed a sharp increase in the number of affected children and warned that the disease spreads mainly through oral or droplet transmission. He advised stringent hand cleansing and that young children avoid contact with affected patients.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.