Via the Centre for Health Protection: Public urged to stay vigilant against hand, foot and mouth disease and enterovirus 71 infection. Excerpt:
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (December 1) called on members of the public to maintain vigilance against hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) and enterovirus 71 (EV71) infection, as the latest surveillance data showed that the HFMD activity further increased and remained at a very high level in Hong Kong.
"The CHP recorded an increasing number of institutional outbreaks of HFMD in the past few weeks, from 23 cases in the week ending November 14 to 64 in the week ending November 28," a spokesman said.
"Sentinel surveillance among private medical practitioners and general outpatient clinics also reported an increase in the HFMD activity recently. From the week ending November 14 to the week ending November 21, the weekly consultation rates of HFMD based at sentinel private medical practitioners increased from 2.4 to 3.7 (per 1,000 consultations) while the weekly consultation rates of HFMD based at sentinel general outpatient clinics increased from 0.4 to 1.2.
"Surveillance of HFMD based at the Accident and Emergency Departments in public hospitals and sentinel child care centres/kindergartens also remains at a high level of activity."
As of November 30, there were 56 EV71 infections recorded in 2015 as compared with 68 cases in the same period of 2014. Among the 56 cases recorded in 2015, six cases developed severe complications.
"HFMD occurs throughout the year and the peak season is usually from May to July in Hong Kong. There were also smaller winter peaks in the past few years but the persistently high HFMD activity reported this year is unusual," the spokesman noted.
The CHP has sent letters to all doctors and institutions including childcare centres, kindergartens and primary and secondary schools alerting them to the current situation regarding HFMD and EV71 infections, providing advice on prevention and control, and reminding them to report suspected HFMD outbreaks to the CHP.
Meanwhile, the CHP is investigating an HFMD outbreak in a secondary school in Ap Lei Chau, involving 18 boys and two girls aged from 12 to 18.
The 20 affected students have developed fever, rash on their hands and feet as well as oral ulcers since November 19. All of them sought medical attention while none required hospitalisation. All are now in stable condition.