• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Provincial Health Office has recommended the declaration of an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease (HMFD) in Negros Occidental, after cases increased by 6,300 percent this year, from January to February 4.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, provincial health officer, said the increase of HFMD cases indicates it could be easily transmitted now that there is face-to-face interaction, especially among children in school.
HFMD is common among young children under five years old, although anyone could still get infected. Although HFMD is very contagious, the illness is however, not serious.
Its symptoms include fever, painful sores in the mouth and a rash with blisters on hands, feet and buttocks. However, severe symptoms such as meningitis, encephalitis and polio may occur, PHO said.
In the fifth morbidity week this year alone, Negros Occidental logged 85 new cases.
HMFD cases soared from five last year, to 315 cases this year, according to a report of the Provincial Health Office.
Alert threshold is at three cases while the epidemic threshold is at five cases, according to the PHO.
The PHO report further indicated that Kabankalan City has the highest number of HFMD cases with 73.*