A government health agency has warned schools and parents to be on the lookout for cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) for the next few weeks after there was an outbreak of the disease at Hong Kong Sea School in the city’s southern district.
There have been 22 cases of the illness at the all-boys school since September 27, with the affected students, aged between 12 and 17, developing mouth ulcers and rashes and blisters over their hands or feet. All the students are now in a stable condition after being treated. None needed to be hospitalised.
The Centre for Health Protection released a statement on Tuesday saying it had visited the school and advised the school’s management how to control and prevent the infectious disease. The agency also investigating the school to find the cause of the outbreak.
“Outbreaks may occur where HFMD can easily spread among young children with close contact,” said the spokesman of the Centre for Health Protection.
HFMD is commonly found in children, with a few rare adult cases. According to the agency, there was a sharp rise in the number of local childcare centres and kindergartens with cases of HFMD in the first week of October, rising from 6.93 per cent of institutions to 11.65 per cent. As of last week, 12.62 per cent of preschools and day care centres in Hong Kong had reported HFMD cases.
A spokesperson from the health unit urged parents to pay extra close attention to their child’s health.
“As young children are more susceptible, parents should stay alert.”
The Centre for Health Protection advises members of the public to avoid catching or spreading the illness by washing their hands frequently, maintaining good air circulation, keeping surfaces and commonly shared items clean and avoiding visiting crowded areas.