Via The Toronto Star: Canadian warship hit by outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease. Excerpt:
A Canadian warship deployed at sea on a NATO mission has been hit by an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease, the Star has learned.
Some 20 sailors aboard HMCS Charlottetown came down with the contagious disease in recent days, which can cause painful sores and lesions on the tongue and gums as well as on hands and feet.
A military spokesperson confirmed the outbreak and said that personnel were being treated to ease the symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).
“Members with HFMD on board HMCS Charlottetown are being treated to help alleviate their symptoms as required,” Capt. Nicola LaMarre told the Star.
The frigate sailed from Halifax on June 27 to take part in Operation Reassurance, Canada’s contribution to NATO deterrence deployments in Eastern Europe.
In mid-July, the ship was in the Black Sea where it participated in NATO operations, including exercises to hone anti-submarine warfare skills.
It’s back in the Mediterranean Sea and spent the weekend docked in Souda Bay, on the Greek island of Crete, for a scheduled port visit.
As HMCS Charlottetown returned to sea Tuesday, there were just two active cases of hand, foot and mouth disease on the frigate, LaMarre said.
“None of the cases of HFMD on board HMCS Charlottetown have caused serious illness or impacted operations. All of the members are being treated by the medical personnel on board the ship in accordance with established medical protocols,” she said.
Canadian frigates, which sail with a crew of just over 200, don’t usually carry a doctor. Instead, medical care is provided by a physician’s assistant, who can consult with doctors onshore. There is no vaccination or specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease, though medication can be taken to relieve the symptoms.
“Treatment is supportive and focuses on management of complications,” said LaMarre, of the Canadian Joint Operations Command, which oversees domestic and international military operations.
The disease can be spread by close contact close personal contact, coughing or sneezing and touching infected surfaces, such as a door handle, making the confines of the frigate vulnerable.