Public Urged To Prevent Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Centre for Health Protection of the Hong Kong Department of Health called on people to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) following an outbreak of the disease in a primary school in Kwun Tong involving 23 students.

The affected children, aged between six and nine years, developed fever, mouth ulcers, and vesiclar rash over hands or feet starting from October 28. They came from nine different classes, each having one to six children affected.

All of them consulted private doctors or sought treatment at general out-patient clinics. They have recovered or are in stable condition. None required hospitalisation. Laboratory test results on the stool samples collected from the affected children are pending.

A CHP spokesman said CHP had paid site visits to the school and provided health advice to the management.

He said HFMD was a viral infection. It is mainly transmitted by the faecal-oral route. Direct contact with open and weeping skin vesicles may also spread the virus.

"In most cases, the fever, rash and ulcers subside spontaneously in one week and full recovery is usual. Complications are uncommon. Rarely, this illness may be associated with viral meningitis.

"Parents are, therefore, advised to seek prompt medical attention if their children develop a high fever, decrease in alertness or deterioration of general condition," the spokesman said.


To prevent HFMD, members of the public, including management of institutions, should adopt the following measures:

* Maintain good air circulation.

* Wash hands before meals and after going to toilet, handling diapers or other stool soiled materials.

* Keep hands clean and wash hands properly, especially when they are dirtied by respiratory secretions, e.g. after sneezing.

* Cover nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and dispose of nasal and mouth discharge properly.

* Clean children's toys and other objects thoroughly and frequently with 1:99 diluted household bleach, followed by rinsing/wiping with clean water.

* Children who are ill should be kept out of school until their fever and rash have subsided and all the vesicles have dried and crusted.

* Avoid going to overcrowded places.