The number of children suffering hand-foot-mouth disease recorded last week in Ho Chi Minh City increased nearly four times compared to the average of the previous four weeks, according to the city’s Center for Disease Control (HCDC).
The southern metropolis documented 936 hand-foot-mouth disease patients in the first four months of this year, 95 percent of whom were children aged one to five.
From April 29 to May 5, the city logged 420 cases, a near-fourfold increase compared to the average of the preceding four weeks.
The surge is particularly alarming in District 12, Binh Tan District, Go Vap District, Tan Binh District, Hoc Mon District, and Thu Duc City.
The most recent hand-foot-mouth disease outbreak occurred in Ho Chi Minh City in 2020, when 16,361 cases were recorded with no fatalities, the HCDC stated, adding that most of the patients were young children.
Health experts predicted that annual epidemics such as dengue fever and hand-foot-mouth disease will be complicated this year, after all social activities were resumed following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Measures must be taken to prevent serious outbreaks and minimize the number of deaths, they added.
Hand-foot-mouth disease is common among young children and transmitted through the gastrointestinal tract, thus it is important for children and their caregivers to practice good personal hygiene, the HCDC stated.
Symptoms of the disease include mild or moderate fever, fatigue, sore throat, skin rash on palms, feet, knees, and buttocks, and sores on the lining of the cheeks, gums, and tongue.
Patients should be hospitalized if they suffer high fever that cannot be reduced by paracetamol, vomiting, convulsions, and an increased heart rate.
The infected child should not go to school for at least 10 days to avoid spreading the disease to others.