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Jun 22, 2012

Clusters of hand, foot and mouth disease in schools

Mark Bernard

Fever, sore throat, blisters on the mouth, hands, feet and buttocks; are the symptoms of a contagious disease that is spreading among children. It is known as the Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease and there has been an increase in cases detected recently, primarily among children in Belize City. The Ministry of Health is monitoring the situation and confirms almost a hundred cases of the contagious illness. While it is not life threatening, it can be extremely uncomfortable for affected children. The symptoms are easily treatable and full recovery can be expected within a week to ten days. News Five spoke to Senior Public Health Inspector, Mark Bernard, about the spread of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease and how it can be prevented.


Mark Bernard, Senior Public Health Inspector, Central Health Region

“It is something that looks like chicken pocks; there are rashes on the skin, it can be painful, sometimes it’s found inside the mouth. It is contagious, sometimes it’s spreads especially from younger kids under ten years old; it’s prevalent in that age range. You know kids are always playing together and touching each other so it is contagious like that. It also spreads through coughing and sneezing. Also, it can be spread through feces; improper hand washing can transmit it.”


Delahnie Bain

“So what advice does the department have regarding preventing this disease?”


Mark Bernard

“Okay, first of all we talk about personal hygiene. We encourage the kids and teachers of kids especially kindergarten, daycare centers to make sure that the kids wash their hands properly after using the bathroom; making sure that when they cough they cover their mouth, don’t sneeze in other kids faces and stuff like that. In areas where you have toys, like in a daycare, regular cleaning of the toys, sanitizing with Lysol or some kind of disinfectant and cleaning of the door knobs, especially also in bathrooms. So generally, we’re talking about personal hygiene.”


Delahnie Bain

“The cases detected lately are among primary school students?”


Mark Bernard

“Principally primary schools and daycare centers, those are where we are seeing the cases and of course, as I mentioned before the key to controlling and limiting the spread is personal hygiene and cleanliness.”


Delahnie Bain

“Any idea what led to this increase? Is it being considered an outbreak so to speak?”


Mark Bernard

“Typically, we have this kind of disease every year; it’s just that I suspect that the cases are coming closer together and are a little bit more than normal. But it is something that we have been seeing over the years.”


Delahnie Bain

“What are the treatment options?”


Mark Bernard

“Okay, there’s no vaccines and there’s really no treatment. You deal with the symptoms. For the fever; aspirin, Tylenol or whatever for fever reduction. Rest, you might need cream for the sores and also a lot of fluid to prevent dehydration so basically it’s the symptoms you’re looking. And I must tell the public that these treatments are available countrywide, at healthcare facilities.”


The Ministry of Health is monitoring the increase in cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. It is not to be confused with Foot and Mouth Disease, which affects cattle and is also known as Mad Cow disease.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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2 Responses for “Clusters of hand, foot and mouth disease in schools”

  1. jay says:

    it would be nice if we Belizean know what the disease look like and not just know the symptoms are.

  2. Rod says:

    This tha all whey mi left for my po Belize now picni the catch mad cow desease watch out belizeans unu beta no di the eat no beef mooooooooooooo desease. Is now in Belize.

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