This is the reply from HSE to query by the school today
Dear Mr. Halford,
Many thanks for your query today in relation to the child who has been diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease who attends your school. I understand that your query was in relation to general information about Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease and whether to send a letter to parents of other children attending the school. After reading the information below if you have any other query, please do not hesitate to contact me by email or via the number listed below.
We most commonly see hand food and mouth disease in younger children, so it is unusual to get a call from a Secondary school. Was this case confirmed by a doctor? I am not sure what age the child with HFMD is, and of course older children and indeed adults can of course be affected on occasion.
What is Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD)?
Hand, foot and mouth disease is an infection caused by a virus (usually Coxsackie A). It is not connected to the “foot and mouth” disease that cattle and other animals can have, nor is it transmitted from animals to humans, although the similar name is confusing!
What are the Symptoms?
Hand, foot and mouth usually causes a short, mild illness that mainly affects children. Like many viruses the symptoms typically begin with fever, malaise and sore throat. After this small ulcers or “vesicles” appear in the mouth. It is also common for children to develop a skin rash, for most children this involves an eruption of blister-type lesions on the hands and feet, in smaller children this can include the buttocks. Sometimes the rash can be generalized affecting other parts of the body.
Is Hand Foot and Mouth Disease Infectious?
The incubation period is 3-5days, meaning that it takes 3-5 days to develop symptoms after being infected. Most cases are passed by coughing and sneezing, it can also be passed by touching the fluid in the blisters. The virus can also be passed in stools (faeces), therefore good handwashing is imperative to prevent the spread of the virus. It is mainly infectious until the spots and mouth ulcers are gone. Sometimes small outbreaks occur in schools and childcare facilities.
To Reduce the Spread of the Infection:
- Make sure that children wash their hands thoroughly after using the toilet.
- Aim to keep mouth and nose covered when coughing and sneezing. Wipe the nose and mouth with disposable tissues.
- It is best not to share cups, eating utensils, towels, etc, whilst ill with this infection and for several weeks afterwards.
- Do not deliberately pierce blisters, as the fluid is infectious.
What about pregnant women?There does not seem to be a risk to the developing baby if a pregnant woman contracts HFMD. It does not appear to cause miscarriages or abnormalities in the developing baby. However if a pregnant woman who is close to her delivery date contracts the infection she should see her doctor/obstetrician, as there is a possibility that the infection could be passed to the baby.