BAGUIO CITY – The cases of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) went up to 328 cases in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) according to the Department of Health-Cordillera (DOH-CAR) as reported during the Kapihan sa DOH recently.
Mountain Province had the highest infected cases of HFMD up to 116 cases, followed by Benguet having 97 cases, Baguio City-47, Abra-24, Apayao-19, Ifugao-11, Kalinga-10, and non-CAR having 4 cases. All the cases are considered 5-fold higher compared to the same period last January 2022.
HFMD is more common in younger populations, from ages one to five, where most of them do not have fully developed immune systems. It can be easily passed from one person to another by skin-to-skin contact with the infected individual, a respiratory droplet, or contact with contaminated surfaces that the infected have touched. The incubation period of HFMD will take three to five days after being infected.
Jethro Simeon of DOH-CAR stated that the increase in cases of the infection is due to the return of face-to-face classes and the gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. Unlike before, most of the people stay at home, especially the children who are more prone to the disease.
However, Dr. Donabel Panes of the City Health Services Office (CHSO) pointed out during the Ugnayang Panlungsod recently, that there are no hospitalized cases nor mortality in Baguio City. Having 47 cases in the city, some of the cluster cases are having minor fever, loss of appetite, and rashes. “Nakakahawa ang sakit na ito but as you can see hindi siya thousands, ibig sabihin napipigilan natin ang pagdami nito,” Panes explained, adding “That is why there is no reason to declare an HFMD outbreak in Baguio City.”
Moreover, the DepEd has non-pharmacological interventions for HFMD such as frequent handwashing, class suspension, and disinfection when cases of HFMD went higher. Dr. Panes also added that it is good that we have learned from COVID-19. The public, especially the parents, are now aware on infectious diseases and to institute public measures when needed.
The DOH-CAR reiterated the importance of maintaining proper hygiene, frequent hand washing, and boosting the immune system to prevent a wider spread of HFMD. “We usually look at these preventive measures as very simple but these are very effective.” Dr. Alexei said. He also reminded the public to cover their mouth when coughing and sneezing, not to share utensils, and maintain minimum health standards to prevent the spread of any communicable diseases. By Nicko Gatchalian