Year-round hand, foot and mouth disease is transmitted through the gastrointestinal tract; children are most contagious with HFMD.
A medical worker is treating a HFMD toddlerAccording to Dr. Le Hong Nga from Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control (HCDC), in the first three months of 2021, the number of HFMD cases nearly doubled compared to the average of the same period in 2017-2020. The number of cases of severe HFMD at grade 2B or higher is on the rise. The southern metropolis recorded 2,564 cases of HFMD, an increase of 2.5 times compared to the same period in 2020 with 1,044 cases. The city recorded 346 cases in March 2021 alone, an increase of 2.2 times compared to the previous month's average with 152 cases. Thu Duc City and districts 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, Binh Tan, Tan Binh, Go Vap, Binh Chanh, Cu Chi, Hoc Mon have seen an alarming rate of HFMD cases.
Dr. Nguyen Minh Tien, Deputy Director of the City Children's Hospital said that from the beginning of March until now, there has been an increase in the number and severe cases of HFMD hospitalized children. Many of them are in serious condition. For instance, a 15-month-old girl was transferred from Bac Lieu General Hospital when she was suffering breathing problem.
According to her relative, the baby had had a high fever for three days, vomit, and blisters on the palm of her hand before she was taken to the local infirmary. The toddler gradually fell into drowsiness, cyanosis, cold hands and feet, skin rash on the palm of the hands and she was diagnosed with HFMD grade 4. The baby girl then experienced respiratory failure; therefore, she was put on ventilator and transferred to the City Children's Hospital.
Meanwhile, the Children Hospital No.1 admitted 6-7 children with HFMD a day in recent weeks, mostly slight cases; hence, doctors advised parents to take them home for treatment. However, Dr. Du Tuan Quy, Deputy Head of the Department of Infections and Neurology, said that the department is treating 134 children with infectious and neurological diseases including 42 HFMD cases.
According to the infectious disease surveillance system, from the beginning of 2021 up to now, the country has recorded about 18,000 cases of HFMD including four deaths in the Mekong Delta provinces of Kien Giang, An Giang and Long An. In comparison with the same period in 2020, the number of cases increased four times, mostly in the Southern region and Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, Long An, Dong Thap, An Giang.
According to Dr. Le Hong Nga, HFMD is a common infectious disease in children, especially children under 5 years old. The disease spreads quickly reaching its peak from March to May and from August to September each year. Most cases were mild. However, in some cases, the disease can progress seriously and cause dangerous complications such as encephalitis - meningitis, myocarditis, and acute pulmonary edema leading to death; accordingly, early detection for HFMD and timely treatment are needed.
Dr. Le Hong Nga pointed out statistically, the rate of children HFMD-associated neurological diseases is not too high, but if the child has serious complications because of delayed treatment, it will leave serious sequelae such as encephalitis, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary edema. Children will die without timely and proper treatment.
The Ministry of Health recommended people to strictly implement personal hygiene to prevent HFMD including often washing their hands with soap several times a day, drinking boiling water and cooked food. Toys that children suck or chew should be cleaned in the dishwasher or washing machine separately. Disinfecting toys and general surfaces such as tables is a precaution for outbreaks. At the same time, parents do not let children come into contact with sick people. It is necessary to bring the child to nearby hospitals for timely treatment if they have symptoms of the disease.
Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Health Hoang Duc Hanh said that since the beginning of the year, the city has recorded 82 cases of HFMD in 28 districts and towns. The number of cases has tended upwards lately forecasting this disease may continue to increase in the near future, mainly in babies. Director of the National Pediatric Hospital’s Center for Pediatric Tropical Diseases Doctor Nguyen Van Lam said that from the beginning of 2021 up to now, the center has received more than 130 cases of children with HFMD, five times higher than the same period last year.